Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers Expects ‘A Ton of Innovation’ Around Stablecoins

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers praised stablecoins, however stated he could be stunned if a world digital foreign money turned a actuality in his lifetime.

During a particular episode of Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire’s podcast, “The Money Movement” final week, Summers stated he foresees extra innovation within the blockchain house however a world digital foreign money remains to be at a nascent stage. The feedback got here as a part of a broader dialogue on the present state of the worldwide economic system, the way forward for a world digital foreign money and the function of stablecoins in cross-border transactions.

“I’m sure there’ll be a variety of kinds of innovation, but I’d be kind of surprised, and, you know, I’ve been surprised many times before, if we got to some kind of global digital currency … in my lifetime,” he stated. “I could be wrong, I think … we’ll see a ton of innovation that will work through stablecoins, and that will permit cross-border exchange with more with more ease.”

In Summers’ view, the case for cryptocurrency rests on three pillars, however two fail to make robust arguments in favor of the know-how. 

For one, it’s unlikely that governments around the globe will debauch conventional currencies to the purpose the place individuals will now not need to put cash in them. He stated he doesn’t “read existing currencies as being on their way to being demolished” simply because central banks are discovering it tough to satisfy their inflation targets, below stress from rising money owed and the disaster brought on by the pandemic. 

“Second thing I think is that I don’t think crypto is going to be accepted as some kind of libertarian paradise,” Summers stated. 

Summers doesn’t suppose that there are individuals who consider that monetary privateness, when it comes to the flexibility to switch cash, is a elementary human proper. Conversely, governments will need much less monetary privateness over time and they’re going to get what they need, he stated. 

The strongest case for crypto is that digital currencies have a considerable functionality to serve a variety of makes use of, notably as a result of conventional transactions are cumbersome and value some huge cash, Summers stated. The hefty charges for cross-border transfers or the charges concerned in card funds and ATM withdrawals reveal the extreme friction and inefficiencies of the present funds system. Stablecoins particularly can allow cross-border trade with extra ease, he stated.  


Just per week after Summers’ remarks, the dollar-pegged cryptocurrency issued by the CENTRE Consortium, USDC, crossed $1 billion in market capitalization.

The stablecoin backed by U.S. {dollars} held by CENTRE, which in flip was created by Circle and Coinbase, achieved the milestone lower than two years after launching, although it trails the Tether stablecoin by some $eight billion, Circle introduced Thursday.

Demand for stablecoins has grown, Circle stated. It doesn’t seem, nevertheless, that this development was influenced by Summers’ feedback.

In CENTRE’s announcement Thursday, the expansion of worldwide stablecoins was attributed to foreign money volatility brought on by the present monetary disaster and a rising demand for “digital dollars that are fast, global, secure, and inexpensive”.

“Secondly, businesses around the world are beginning to seek the advantages of payments made via an entirely new, digital, global and interoperable infrastructure that enables low-cost transfers anywhere nearly instantly,” the announcement stated. 

Digital yuan

During final week’s dialogue, Allaire stated stablecoins can pose a risk to governments as a result of it will possibly probably be “accessed with any digital wallet on any smartphone by anyone, anywhere.”

In the identical dialogue, Allaire stated he believes the push for a digital yuan displays China’s need to play an excellent better function on the earth economic system. There can be a need to have a monetary system that’s not managed by the West or the Brussels-based international monetary messaging system SWIFT, he stated.

“With the development of the Chinese digital currency, effectively, they’ve created a model where a household, a firm, a nation state can kind of directly transact and settle with China over the internet and you don’t need SWIFT, you don’t need any of the regulations that control that. You can just bilaterally, over the internet, start to achieve that,” Allaire stated. 

Secretary Summers agreed, saying China desires to regulate the lives of their residents, together with their monetary lives. In his view, a system that lets residents freely transfer wealth and sources out of a rustic goes to be a system that makes the federal government “deeply nervous”. 

“And I think a system that is so restricted that it isn’t possible to do that isn’t going to be much of a global digital currency,” he stated.


The chief in blockchain information, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the best journalistic requirements and abides by a strict set of editorial insurance policies. CoinDesk is an unbiased working subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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