Stablecoin Overview: Circle’s EUROC
Circle, the company behind USDC, the second most successful USD-backed stablecoin, is launching a digital euro. The EUROC will be launched on June 30 on the Ethereum network and its reserves will be held with Silvergate Bank, which is under U.S. jurisdiction. The stablecoin will be a fully regulated cryptocurrency, backed by an equivalent of euro-denominated reserves, pegged 1:1 to the euro. Any increase in the circulating supply of EUROC would call for an equal increase in its reserve as well. This seems to be the major difference between EUROC and USDC, which is backed by cash and short-term U.S. government bonds as collateral. At the moment, 90% of the stablecoin market is dominated by tokenized funds like USDT, USDC and BUSD. USDC has been very successful and the launch of the EUROC marks a major shift for the euro-backed stablecoins, which have been lagging behind their US-denominated counterparts. Several crypto companies and exchanges will support EUROC at launch, including Anchorage Digital, Binance.US, Bitstamp, Compound, Curve, CYBAVO, DFX, Fireblocks, FTX, Huobi Global, Ledger, MetaMask Institutional, and Uniswap Protocol.
Authors: Valentin Kalinov, Christian Viehof
EUROC is not the first stablecoin backed by euros. In terms of adoption, euro-backed stablecoins consist of less than 1% of the total market cap of all stablecoins. There are a few reasons why such assets are lagging behind. First, there have been negative interest rates in Europe for the past decade, discouraging institutions holding large reserves denominated in euros. All tokenized funds like USDT, USDC and now EUROC are fully backed by fiat currency and the companies behind these stablecoins are holding large reserves. Why do we believe that Circle timed the market perfectly? After record inflation in the Eurozone, the European Central Bank finally announced the potential end of negative interest rates. This is a very welcome strategy for a company like Circle to launch its product without suffering negative interest rates. Another reason why Euro stablecoins have not been adopted is the weak performance of the euro against the US dollar. Since crypto markets have no boundaries, traders and investors might prefer holding dollars instead of euros long-term. The third reason why Circle has timed the market perfectly is the expected regulation on stablecoin. After the collapse of Luna/Terra central bankers have highlighted the need for stricter stablecoin regulations around the globe. By launching EUROC early Circle is well prepared for the upcoming regulations. We could expect that there will be future debates between the FED and ECB regarding euro-denominated stablecoins, especially if the reserves are not held in the EU.
When the EU’s crypto legislation MiCA comes into force, theoretically, the EUROC will not be used within the European Union as it currently stands. This would mean that EUROC would not be offered to the public in the EU by EU-based exchanges, EU-based banks and EU-based custodians. Circle is most probably aware of the potential issues around MiCA and is working on a plan to adapt to the changing regulatory environment. It is expected that MiCA will most likely come into force at the end of 2023, which gives Circle enough time to adapt.
Other market players
The combined market cap of all euro stablecoins is not more than €250M. Circle’s Euro Coin is not the first one on the market, but it has the potential quickly to become the most significant one.
The biggest Euro stablecoin today is Statis Euro (EURS). STASIS is based in Malta and runs on top of Ethereum. The coin is traded on HitBTC and Bitfinex and was initially launched in 2018. The second biggest stablecoin is EURt, launched by Tether in 2021. The coin has struggled to gain traction and its market cap is minuscule like the rest on the list (Figure 1). In third place, we see e-Money EUR (EEUR) developed by Block Finance A/S, a Danish fintech company. The e-Money platform is built on the Cosmos Network and it is fully backed by bank deposits and government bonds. With the launch of EUROC there is the potential to finally have euro-denominated stablecoin gain significant adoption from users and institutions. Circle’s Euro Coin will be tradeable on some of the major crypto exchanges, including Binance, starting on June 30.
The classification of EUROC according to the ITC:
Economic Purpose (EEP): EUROC is listed as a fiat-pegged payment token (EEP21PP01EUR) similar to the other stablecoins in the industry.
Industry Type (EIN): The issuer of EUROC (Circle) is active in the field of Payment Services and Infrastructure (EIN06PS).
Technological Setup (TTS): EUROC is an Ethereum ERC-20 Standard Token (TTS42ET01). The Class “Ethereum ERC-20 Standard Token” captures every token that is implemented by means of the ERC-20 Standard on top of the Ethereum blockchain.
Legal Clam (LLC): The EUROC token does entitle its holder with a relative right against the issuing organization, therefore it is listed as a Relative Rights Token (LLC32). Each token represents a claim of one Euro against the issuer; Circle.
Issuer Type (LIT): The dimension “Issuer Type” provides information on the nature of the issuer of the token. EUROC is built by Circle Internet Financial Limited, its Issuer Type is a Private Sector Legal Entity (LIT61PV).
Regulatory Framework (EU) (REU): The dimension “Regulatory Status EU” provides information on the potential classification of a token according to the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA, Regulation Proposal COM/2020/593 final). EUROC (Ethereum) qualifies as a Non-Authorized Significant E-Money Token (REU51EM12) according to the definition provided in Article 3 (4) of Regulation (EU) 2019/1937.
- All you need to know about Circle’s Euro-based stablecoin, https://www.cnbctv18.com
- Bitstamp to list the first mainstream euro-pegged stablecoin — EURt, https://blog.bitstamp.net
- Circle announces plans to become a national digital currency bank, https://www.fintechfutures.com
- Firm behind popular US dollar stablecoin to launch Euro Coin., https://www.washingtonpost.com
- Circle’s New Euro-backed Stablecoin Mimics USDC, https://blockworks.co/
- Circle Launches Euro-Backed Stablecoin, https://decrypt.co/
- Circle’s New Euro Stablecoin: Issued from the US and Used Outside the EU?, https://philippsandner.medium.com
- USDC issuer Circle to launch Euro stablecoin this month, https://www.ledgerinsights.com
The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) e.V.
The International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) e.V. is a not-for-profit association of German law that aims at promoting the development and implementation of comprehensive market standards for the identification, classification, and analysis of DLT- and blockchain-based cryptographic tokens. As an independent industry membership body, ITSA unites over 100 international associated founding members from various interest groups. In order to increase transparency and safety on global token markets, ITSA currently develops and implements the International Token Identification Number (ITIN) as a market standard for the identification of cryptographic tokens, the International Token Classification (ITC) as a standard framework for the classification of cryptographic tokens according to their inherent characteristics. ITSA then adds the identified and classified token to the world’s largest register for tokens in our Tokenbase.
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Valentin Kalinov is an Executive Director at International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) e.V., working to create the world’s largest token database, including a classification framework and unique token identifiers and locators. He has over five years of experience working at BlockchainHub Berlin in content creation and token analysis, as a project manager at the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics at the Vienna University of Economics and token analyst at Token Kitchen. You can contact Valentin via firstname.lastname@example.org and connect on Linkedin if you would like to further discuss ITSA e.V. or have any other open questions.
Christian Viehof is an Executive Director at the International Token Standardization Association (ITSA) e.V., working to create the world’s largest token database including a classification framework and unique token identifiers and locators. He completed his Bachelor in Economics at the University of Bonn, the Hong Kong University and the London School of Economics and Political Science with a focus on Behavioral Economics and Finance. Currently pursuing his Master of Finance at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, you can contact him via email@example.com and connect with him on Linkedin, if you would like to further discuss ITSA e.V. or have any open questions.