March 8th, 2019
A consortium of blockchain companies including Bittrex International, Brave, Cred, and Bitgo is launching a new stablecoin. Universal Protocol Alliance’s Universal Dollar (UPUSD) is a dollar-pegged token whose holders will earn interest, just like a regular savings account. The consortium has announced ambitious plans to launch UPUSD in Africa and Latin America first, to attract “the next 100 million users into cryptocurrency.”
Crypto Assets That Pay Interest Are So Hot Right Now
Competition for the USD ticker is fierce these days. In addition to TUSD, GUSD, and USDC, the stablecoin economy now has UPUSD. Universal Protocol’s stab at a stablecoin, developed with the backing of Bittrex International, Uphold, Brave, Cred, Blockchain at Berkeley, Bitgo, and Certik, is an ERC20 token that will allow its holders to earn interest for staking. In that respect, there are clear parallels to be made with Blockfi’s crypto interest account, which launched this week promising BTC and ETH holders 6 percent per year. Dan Schatt, president of Cred, told news.Bitcoin.com that UPUSD will pay quarterly interest as high as 10 percent annually.
What distinguishes the Universal Dollar from the competition is the target market it’s designed for. Countries crippled by weakened national currency, such as Venezuela and Zimbabwe, will purportedly be among the first beneficiaries of UPUSD. The Universal Dollar stablecoin promises a “competitive annual rate of return” and it is anticipated that uptake will be particularly strong in countries with high inflation or limited access to traditional banking. Dan Schatt explained:
Today, Uphold and Cred service hundreds of thousands of users in developing and high-inflation countries. Many Venezuelans use Cred’s service, looking for the same returns and stability as the rest of the world. The difference is they are in a country with a 10 million percent inflation rate.
A Passive Income for Token-Holders
The UP platform will enable users to lend their USD-pegged assets and earn interest via Uphold’s Cred Earn application. UPUSD will also be rolled out in developed countries, where it will permit users to store their digital assets on a 1:1 basis at FDIC-insured banks. The token will launch on March 8 on Uphold, whose UP platform has been praised by UPUSD backer Brendan Eich, co-founder of Brave, for its “usability and familiarity.”
The platform incorporates a number of features designed to enhance its user-friendliness, particularly to non-technical users who may be new to cryptocurrencies. This includes key recovery, using a 2-of-3 private key-sharing system that will enable the wallet owner and one of their approved third parties to restore a lost wallet. Users can also delegate control over their assets to a third party such as a centralized exchange for temporary trading, before taking back custody of the funds and restoring them to their personal wallet. The development of UPUSD is the latest example of crypto assets taking on the form and features of the legacy financial system that they were originally designed to leave behind.