|Transaction Start Date||06/03/2018|
|Circulating Supply||206,986,215 TUSD|
|Market Cap||209,635,525 USD|
|Type||Off-chain, fully collateralized USD-backed|
|Where To Buy||OKex, Binance, DigiFinex|
|Where to trade Futures||BBOD|
TrueUSD (TUSD), the first asset issued by the TrustToken platform, ERC20 stablecoin pegged to the value of the US Dollar that utilizes a distributed network of trustworthy escrow accounts to fully collateralize client funds, ensuring TUSD is consistently backed 1-1 by USD fiat reserves. The use of numerous escrow accounts as opposed to one centralized bank provides token-holders with accountability of funds at all times and legal protection against any misappropriation, ultimately reducing counterparty risk. Trust firm accounts in the network are required to publish their fiat holdings publicly on a regular basis and are subject to monthly attestations. To further the confidence that users funds are safe third-party security audits of trust firms are consistently carried out by world leading auditors for best security practices.
Although TrustToken recognizes that making use of escrow accounts is certainly not the end game to a truly decentralized stablecoin, they appear open to exploring other possibilities once the cryptocurrency ecosystem matures enough for such a solution to be achievable. Ultimately, in a market where firms such as Tether (USDT) have taken advantage of user funds by providing no proof of solvency while storing fractional reserves in one centralized account, TUSD appears one of the most viable options for traders to hedge their portfolio against often extremely volatile market conditions.
Problem To Solve
Up until recently, there was little debate over whether one could trust a specific stablecoin. With so much noise in the space and profit to be made, individuals were simply too distracted to comprehend the relative safety of their funds. Over the past year, however, such an outlook has predominantly changed, which can largely be attributed to the Tether (USDT) scandal that began in 2017 and continues to unravel in the cryptocurrency market today. After an investigation from both avid cryptocurrency community members, namely Bitfinexed, and now more trusted investigative journalists such as Bloomberg and The New York Times, it has become apparent that Tether was likely used to inflate prices during the 2017 bull market benefiting exchanges such as Bitfinex who possess dubious ties to USDT. Perhaps more importantly for market participants, however, has been the clear acquisitions of the “Fractional Reserve Baking” method being utilized, where only a fraction of USDT funds is verifiably backed by money in a physical bank account. Continuing to add doubt to this debate, is Tethers inability or unwillingness to provide regular audits for their users, questioning the solvency of their funds altogether. Moreover, the inability to withdraw funds on exchanges such as Bitfinex and Kraken on certain occasions has spooked users who now want reassurance that their funds are verifiably safe and so are actively looking for new stablecoin alternatives. While numerous
Choice of Collateral
The underlying technology of stablecoins can be categorized into three key areas: fiat-collateralized, crypto-collateralized and non-collateralized. All models possess their own unique strengths and weaknesses and so it is what market they wish to facilitate or the philosophy of their founders that ultimately determines which category a stablecoin falls under.
First, fiat-collateralized stablecoins such as TrueUSD and Tether are rooted in a similar fashion to traditional fiat currency issued by a bank, they simply represent an IOU for a specified amount of money. As such, each stablecoin token equates to the equivalent value in USD (or any other fiat currency), 1 fiat collateralized stablecoin = 1 USD/other fiat currency. This method is perhaps the most viable option for a stablecoin at current, the cryptocurrency market continues to be extremely volatile and fiat reserves can provide the stability that simply no other type of stablecoin can achieve as if the cryptocurrency market collapses the reserves remain in fiat and so are unaffected. The model also has the ability to be highly regulated and so one can be more likely to receive legal discourse from the issuer if the stablecoin fails to hold value. This is all well and good if you can trust the party which has issued the stablecoin, but ultimately you are once more relying on a centralized party to determine your financial fate. As such, continual audits carried out by independent third party firms are essential to ensure that funds are indeed solvent.
Second, crypto-collateralized stablecoins such as MakerDAO’s DAI. This method aims to circumvent the traditional fiat system altogether by providing a specified cryptocurrency as collateral as opposed to a fiat currency. In this manner, centralized intermediaries can be avoided altogether and a stable currency can exist without needing any entity to rely on other than the cryptocurrency market itself. The caveat to this solution is that as everyone is fully aware of, the cryptocurrency market is especially volatile, and so if the market crashes, measures must be in place to ensure enough reserves are held. The way to mitigate such a ‘black swan’ event is to over-collateralize the stablecoin so that it can absorb extreme price fluctuations. If the price fluctuation of a crypto-collateral reaches a certain point of instability the balance will automatically get liquidated, managed entirely by the blockchain. Although this seems to ensure the security of funds at first, the catch 22 is positions will be liquidated back into the cryptocurrency that was chosen for collateral, for example, Ethereum, which would likely be almost worthless in the case of such a ‘black swan’ event. Companies such as MakerDAO are beginning to try to mitigate this risk by multi-collateralising DAI against numerous different assets, but until this proof of concept proves to be a success, it cannot be shown to be the most secure stablecoin in the market.
Finally, non-collateralised stablecoins, which are simply not backed by collateral whatsoever. This idea is akin to when the Gold standard was removed in the US and the transition to fiat money began. No longer was cash backed by Gold in a secure location, instead, parties simply had to trust the government that they were good for their word, the money was available if needed and no individual needs to be concerned. After numerous cases of government failure in countries such as Zimbabwe, Venezuela and more recently Turkey, however, It is clear that the ability of governments to control the money supply in certain parts of the world is broken. As such, to consider such a model for a cryptocurrency stablecoin becomes even less appealing. If one cannot trust certain governments to keep funds safe, then placing that authority in the hands of a for-profit cryptocurrency firm seems at best irresponsible. Basis is a perfect example of a non-collateralised stablecoin failing to foresee the regulatory requirements necessary for the success of such a project, recently being forced to return all funds to investors.
Store of Value
Perhaps the most obvious problem that stablecoins aim to mitigate is the extreme volatility the cryptocurrency market has shown since its inception. Although this may be extremely beneficial for experienced speculators, the continual fluctuations in the market value of cryptocurrencies ensure they are currently a useless store of value. Until the market matures enough so that well-known cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are akin to traditional assets such as Gold, one can expect the value of their account to fluctuate by double-digit figures in a single day on a regular basis. Ultimately, this stifles real-world adoption as the cryptocurrencies we know today cannot be used for regular transactions unless businesses and consumers want to take on unnecessary risk in the hopes of long-term profit. Moreover, individuals who live in countries with corrupt governments are not interested in speculating in order to profit, they simply want to utilize the revolutionary technology that is blockchain as a store of value to escape their collapsing economy while maintaining the value of their assets. At current, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum cannot offer them that guarantee.
Tokenization of Real-World Assets
Outside of corrupt states, a reliable store of value will become increasingly necessary as roughly $256 trillion worth of real-world assets begin to become tokenized. Such a process is already starting to take place, with tokenization occurring in key markets such as real estate, commodities, securities and fine art at current, with the list only set to expand as individuals strive to transact value with one another on a global scale using tokenization to offer innovative investment opportunities such as shared ownership. What is lacking for the success of tokenization, however, is a definitive store of value that cryptocurrencies themselves cannot yet provide and perhaps never will. For tokenization to prosper, a stablecoin which is consistently audited, that offers guarantees over the underlying assets with full collateral and possesses legal consequences for bad actors and remunerations to affected parties is essential. Up until recently, no stablecoin in the market offered such advantages.
A Trustworthy Stablecoin
Whereas Tether has decided that only fractional reserves placed in a centralized location are necessary for their product to function effectively, TrueUSD has implemented full collateral for their clients using a distributed network of trust company escrow accounts. Such a prospect is extremely more robust as it ensures every TUSD that is minted is fully collateralized by USD ensuring client funds are safe at all times. The system works as follows, every time an individual decides to purchase TUSD they must clear their USD through one of the trusted decentralized escrow accounts, the corresponding USD is then held in that account ready to be retrieved any time the client deems necessary. If USD is redeemed the escrow fund burns the associated TUSD ensuring there is a continuous 1:1 ratio between TUSD in circulation and USD in the escrow accounts. This is a considerably superior offering to what Tether has chosen to provide its clients where one can never be certain whether the USDT is not only fully collateralized but backed by physical USD at all. Besides Tether not being verifiably fully collateralized, centralization of funds in one single bank account is incredibly risky as it is far more prone to being hacked as a single point of failure. TrueUSD tackles this head-on with it’s distributed network of trusted escrow accounts, a traditional banking protocol that has worked effectively for high value accounts for a considerable amount of time.
Although Tether now provides some transparency of their funds to the public, the fact that this is an internally organized audit furthers the question of the solvency of their funds altogether. Such a publication could easily be corrupted by those within the organization if they perceived they were at risk of losing their current market dominance. To combat such an issue TrueUSD provides regular audits to the public which are carried out by trusted third-party companies with no skin in the game. In the unlikely event that TrueUSD was proved to be insolvent, they would be called out by such trusted third parties who would not be willing to risk their reputation to uphold a company which they have no fiduciary responsibility for. This provides TrueUSD clients confidence that their funds are undeniably safe.
Further to the never-ending scandal of Tether, in certain instances, clients have been unable to withdraw USDT from exchanges such as Bitfinex and Kraken in order to exit the cryptocurrency market for fiat. Ultimately, this has left experienced traders unable to withdraw funds at specific times where the market appears to be turning bearish. This leads those individuals to lose out on profit that they should be legally entitled to. The trusted escrow accounts which hold TrueUSD would be held legally accountable in such instances if they could not exchange client funds for fiat at a specific instant. Although placing TUSD on centralized exchanges does not necessarily guarantee any legal action will be taken if funds cannot be withdrawn when chosen, such initiative with their escrow accounts should force centralized exchanges to follow suit if they wish to retain clients moving forward.
Choice of Collateral
A Verifiably Safe Fiat-Collateralised Stablecoin
Fiat-collateralized stablecoins currently seem to be the most viable solution to ensure the absolute safety of user funds if designed correctly. As previously mentioned, TrueUSD is fully collateralized utilizing a distributed network of trusted escrow accounts which are consistently audited, and legally responsible for the loss of any of its client funds. Ultimately, TrueUSD appears to have learnt from the failures of their predecessors by tackling each and every issue that one might be concerned with when placing their trust in a centralized authority. In fact, it could be argued that TrueUSD itself is decentralized, as although the company is clearly centralised, the way in which client funds are managed in a decentralized network of accounts ensures that a single point of failure is avoided and detaches the company from the process of minting and burning TUSD altogether.
A Definitive Store of Value for Real World Adoption
As a fully collateralized, regularly audited and legally backed stablecoin, TrueUSD appears to provide the cryptocurrency ecosystem with the essential attributes that are necessary for real-world use cases. For example, for those who are seeking to escape corrupt regimes or increasingly volatile fiat currency situations, TUSD appears a viable hedge which would be definitively more secure than holding USD cash reserves in person. The distributed network of escrow accounts that TrueUSD works with provides immense security of funds above what one single individual could ever achieve while providing legal protection from any loss of funds. One use case for such economies is where salaries are paid in TrueUSD, if adopted this has the potential to circumvent government issued funds altogether, allowing TUSD to become a prominent medium of exchange for countries in desperate need of currency stability.
Perhaps what is more foreseeable in the immediate future, however, is the role that TrueUSD could play in the tokenization of real-world assets. An increasingly growing market in desperate need of a reliable store of value, TrueUSD has the potential to become the medium of choice for those looking to tokenize real-world assets such as real estate, fine art, and commodities such as gold. With the infrastructure in place to provide a safe store of value with full collateral, regular third-party audits and legal compensation for bad actors, the potential for TrueUSD to capitalize on this market is certainly present. Alongside becoming the stablecoin of choice for cryptocurrency exchanges globally, the tokenization of real-world assets appears to be the next best application for TUSD. Ultimately, if TrueUSD can dominate this market before others then the success of their stablecoin could substantially surpass Tether’s current market capitalization, as $256 trillion dollar market awaits.
Tackling Tether: Up until recently the market dominance of Tether has truly outweighed all stablecoins that have chosen to challenge, as no fully encompassing solution could be found to tackle the broad inadequacies faced. TrueUSD is fully collateralized, consistently audited by trusted third parties and a legally backed stablecoin that directly tackles the untrustworthiness of the Tether project. As the market for
Emerging Markets: During the cryptocurrency bull run of 2017, stablecoins were seen merely as a way for traders to hedge their portfolio to avoid any negative market downturns. As the market has developed, however, it has become clear that there are multiple other use cases for stablecoins. Perhaps the most poignant is the $256 trillion market for tokenization of real-world assets into digital assets. In order for this to occur on a mass scale a trusted stablecoin most be available for those seeking to place large amounts of value onto the blockchain. TrueUSD appears poised to appeal to this market if achieved TUSD will outpace the market capitalization of Tether in an instant.
Market Saturation: As in any market, when an opportunity as large as the demise of the monopoly force comes into existence, many firms are willing to throw extortionate amounts of money at the issue to ensure that they become the next market leader. Such an opportunity is too big to miss and so many firms have now entered the market to become the stablecoin of choice in the industry. Thus far, TrueUSD is achieving well in third place at the time of writing by market capitalization against strong competition such as USDC (owned by Coinbase and Circle) and Tether. If TrueUSD wishes to become the stablecoin of choice moving forward then they will have to pick their market segment carefully to ensure they are best in class, the age of the all-encompassing stablecoin is over. For TrueUSD, tokenization of real-world assets alongside exchange integration appears to be their best bets.
The Tether scandal should leave individuals questioning how they wish to store their funds in times where speculation is unprofitable and stability is necessary. TrueUSD provides a fully collateralized, third-party audited and legally backed stablecoin that utilizes a distributed network of trusted escrow accounts to ensure user funds are safe at all times. Such advantages may be utilized by traders looking to hedge their portfolio, those wishing to tokenize their assets or individuals looking to escape corrupt regimes is up to the individual. Now that such secure alternatives are available perhaps it is time for market participants to consider their options in an increasingly saturated stablecoin market and only strive to use the best. At current, TrueUSD appears to be just that, the most trusted stablecoin available in the market.
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