Could the Poor Bank on Stablecoins?
Emerging technology is driving optimism about building a more inclusive digital economy. Will one innovation—a digital asset known as stablecoins—expand access to financial services among the poor? To encourage further study and dialogue, this note explores five open questions about whether stablecoins could promote financial inclusion in lower- and middle-income countries. The questions cover two practical issues concerning processing speed and technology available to the poor; costs to users; regulatory issues, especially compliance with existing customer funds protection rules; and implications for financial systems with limited foreign exchange reserves.
The note identifies relevant considerations regarding the gender gap, "global stablecoins," and central bank digital currency. Dialogue between innovators, regulators, and consumer advocates will be crucial in determining whether stablecoins or other "crypto-assets" could help to build a more inclusive digital financial system and an economy that serves the needs of all, including the poor.