When most crypto enthusiasts discuss stablecoins, they’re usually referring to the US market exclusively. But we shouldn’t overlook EURS from STASIS — the first euro-pegged digital asset. Not only does this token introduce blockchain features to the world’s second most-traded currency, but it can be issued for securities through STASIS liquidity providers.
Naturally, OKCoin wanted to learn more about STASIS, EURS, and the project’s long-term goals. So we went straight to the source and spoke with STASIS founder and CEO Gregory Klumov about today’s crypto marketplace.
What we learned:
- The ultimate goal of STASIS is to provide a unified approach to crypto that balances technological and economic forces.
- The crypto regulation race began in Japan, but the United States is slow in catching up.
- Derivatives represent the biggest crypto market in 2019, and will likely follow a comparable trajectory to ETFs and ETNs in traditional markets
Can you share a bit about your background, and why you decided to enter the cryptocurrency space?
I was an analyst and later a fund manager, trading derivatives and complex strategies for a global macro hedge fund. During the 2008 financial crisis, I became convinced the world needs an alternative to the traditional banking system, as well as a way to end the dependence on the US Dollar. My partner later launched the world’s first bitcoin fund, and my involvement with that project started my journey into the world of digital assets.
What is the story behind the name “Stasis,” and how does that relate to your vision for the future of digital assets?
In physics, STASIS means stability, or equilibrium. At STASIS, we recognize that tokenizing traditional financial assets requires you to balance a number of forces. If you just focus on the technology, market forces or new regulation might break the parity between the token and underlying asset. If you just focus on economics, your technology might not remain competitive. And so on. Our name is inspired by the fact that stability, or stasis, requires a comprehensive approach.
What made you select the Euro as the fiat currency to back Stasis?
The euro is the native currency for 400 million people, operating with a €20 trillion GDP and €13 trillion money supply. So the opportunity for disruption is huge. People also don’t realize that this currency is actually safer than USD. Finally, the Eurozone is leading the world in terms of crypto regulation with initiatives like Malta’s VFA Act, which we actually helped shape.
Stasis currently uses the ethereum blockchain. What made you choose Ethereum? Do you see its transaction speeds becoming an issue in the future?
We initially used Ethereum because we were confident in its security, which wasn’t the case with smaller blockchains, simply because of their size. But we’re blockchain agnostic, in the sense that we can use any blockchain as long as we can quantify trust in it. The security of our users’ funds and transactions is a priority. One criteria is that we have to be confident a blockchain is secure enough to process 100x our current stablecoin emission.
What market does Stasis primarily serve? What unique value do you offer clients?
Our ecosystem is designed primarily for institutional investors, but provides value for retail users as well. We have the infrastructure to allow people to use EURS for everything from retail payments to remittances to crypto arbitrage trading. What makes us unique is this focus on building an ecosystem; rather than try to do everything ourselves, we work with various partners and licensed financial intermediaries to facilitate new use cases, as well as to allow users to exchange between EURS and fiat euros.
Stasis has a new product coming out — a tokenized altcoin index. Can you give some more detail on this, as well as any other new developments the community can expect in the future?
Derivatives is the biggest marketplace there is. The euro-denominated derivatives market alone is north of €600 trillion. I expect digital asset-based trading products to follow a trajectory similar to the one that traditional markets enjoyed with the rise of ETFs/ETNs and other thematic investment baskets.
By tokenizing an index fund, well allow users to not only get differentiated exposure with a single trade, which is what an ETF does, but also allow those users to custody the investment vehicle (the token) themselves and trade it directly with each other without many of the limitations present in the current financial system.
It seems like interest in digital assets is rising among institutional investors, especially after the recent spike in BTC price. Given that a majority of your clients are institutional investors, you have unique insight here. What are the pain points for institutional investors right now, and what shifts need to happen to get full buy-in?
The biggest pain point is continuous hostility from US regulators towards digital assets. This isn’t surprising, because they are defending local oligopolies in the financial industry. But the shift is happening. The regulatory race started two years ago for digital assets when Japan legalized bitcoin payments. Now Europe is taking the lead. But US regulators still have outsized influence in the global financial system, and their unwillingness to support digital assets makes is harder than necessary for institutional capital to get involved.
A recent report to the US Congress found that cryptocurrencies are primarily used as investment vehicles. Do you anticipate mass adoption of cryptocurrency on the consumer level, as a standard method of payment?
It’s certainly true that cryptocurrencies are primarily being used for investment purposes right now. But we expect that to change, and think the shift is already happening, if subtly. A lot of it has to do with just building the necessary infrastructure. Take payments, for example. Using EURS to buy your groceries is way better than using a credit card, from a fees perspective. But the cost savings alone aren’t enough to get merchants to begin accepting crypto. You also have to have the infrastructure — a good POS system, etc — to make crypto payments practically feasible. This is a challenge we’re giving a lot of attention to right now.
What are you most excited about in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space right now? (Could be new blockchain applications, BTC recovery, institutional buy-in, etc.)
One application that really excites me is the potential for derivatives markets where users can easily make bets on events or some asset prices with just a few clicks. For example, sports betting is over a €100 billion euro market, growing at a double-digit rate. This is a high margin market with a lot of conspiracy and a total lack of transparency. Blockchain is the perfect technology to disrupt that.
Where can people go to learn more about Stasis? Will you be attending any upcoming events? Can people follow Stasis on social media?
People can follow us on Twitter to be the first to know about things like new listings or events we’re participating in. For more in-depth updates on the project, we’d encourage them to subscribe to our newsletter.