Understanding the U.S. Treasury's Perspective on Stablecoins

Breakdown of the U.S. Treasury report addressing stablecoins.

Understanding the U.S. Treasury's Perspective on Stablecoins
Photo by Art Rachen / Unsplash

The document can be found here: https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/StableCoinReport_Nov1_508.pdf

The U.S. Treasury has released a pivotal report addressing stablecoins. This report is crucial in understanding the government's stance on stablecoins, particularly those used for payment purposes, highlights several key areas of concern and recommendations for legislative and regulatory actions.

Key Concerns and Recommendations

  1. Regulatory Gaps and Prudential Authority: The report identifies significant gaps in the prudential regulation of stablecoins. It emphasizes the need for Congress to establish a federal prudential framework to consistently and comprehensively regulate "payment stablecoins."
  2. Legislative Actions: Urging prompt legislative action, the report recommends that stablecoin issuers should be classified as insured depository institutions. This move would bring them under stricter regulatory scrutiny, akin to traditional banking institutions. This is due to the fact that stablecoins are characterized by a promise that the coins can be redeemed for a set value of fiat currency.
  3. Reserve Assets and Redemption Rights: A notable concern is the lack of standards regarding the composition of stablecoin reserve assets. Additionally, the rights and processes for stablecoin redemption vary considerably, leading to uncertainty about the timing and reliability of redemptions.
  4. Operational Aspects: The report discusses how stablecoin transactions are recorded, either on the wallet provider's books or through permissioned blockchains, which may offer more certainty regarding network monitoring but also pose concerns about less transparency and security.
  5. Market Size and Growth: As of October 2021, the market capitalization of stablecoins had reached approximately $127 billion, marking a 500% increase over the previous twelve months. This explosive growth underscores the urgency of regulatory action.
  6. Use in Digital Asset Trading and DeFi: Stablecoins are central to the functioning of decentralized finance (DeFi) and digital asset trading platforms. They allow users to quickly convert volatile digital assets into more stable ones and are often used as collateral on trading platforms. However, this raises issues of fraud, money laundering, terrorist financing, excessive leverage, and market abuse.
  7. Legal Classification: Parts of stablecoin arrangements may be classified as securities, commodities, or derivatives, necessitating compliance with federal securities laws.
  8. Systemic Risk and Economic Impact: The report expresses concern about the systemic risk posed by stablecoins and the potential concentration of economic power. It highlights the need for a comprehensive regulatory framework to ensure stablecoin functionality in both normal and stressed market conditions.
  9. Recommendations for Wallet Providers: The Treasury suggests that custodial wallet providers should be under federal oversight, with authority to restrict these providers from lending customer stablecoins and impose limits on affiliations with commercial entities or the use of transaction data.


The U.S. Treasury's report on stablecoins is a clarion call for comprehensive legislation and regulation in this rapidly evolving sector. It underscores the need for a balanced approach that addresses the risks posed by stablecoins while recognizing their potential to support beneficial payment options. The report's emphasis on transparency, consumer protection, and financial stability sets the stage for future regulatory developments in the digital asset space. As the market for stablecoins continues to grow and integrate with the broader financial system, these recommendations and insights will likely shape the trajectory of digital asset regulation both in the United States and globally.