One of the World’s Oldest Banks Is Issuing a Euro Stablecoin on Stellar

Germany’s Bankhaus von der Heydt is working with Bitbond for the first direct issuance of a stablecoin by a bank on Stellar, the firms said.

Dec 9, 2020 at 1:17 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:40 a.m. UTC

A euro stablecoin is being issued by one of the oldest banks in the world and it’s being done on the Stellar blockchain network.

Announced Wednesday, Germany’s Bankhaus von der Heydt (BVDH), established in 1754, is working with tokenization and digital asset custody technology provider Bitbond for the first direct issuance of a stablecoin by a banking institution on Stellar, the companies said.

Bitbond has already partnered with the Stellar Development Foundation and Tempo to use their stablecoin, and has received approval from the German regulator BaFIN to issue tokenized bonds, also on Stellar, said Radoslav Albrecht, Bitbond founder and CEO.

“When using our technology to tokenize securities, you also have the payment method on-chain – but not as a volatile cryptocurrency, as a stablecoin,” said Albrecht in an interview. “Banks normally wouldn't feel comfortable using [stablecoins] like tether or USDC, due to the potential counterparty risk that is behind them. They prefer to work with stablecoins issued by banks, and the same is true for institutional investors.”

The stablecoin development comes months after BVDH experimented with tokenized securities on Stellar as well.

Crypto shift

Munich-based BVDH had enjoyed a pretty traditional boutique business in areas like securitization, fund administration and M&A. But a couple of years ago, it became very focused on digital assets, according to Lukas Weniger, BVDH business development.

The main shortcoming of stablecoins in circulation today, is the general lack of a fully licensed bank behind them, Weniger said.

“The stablecoin is a very sensitive product, and it requires a lot of trust from the users at the end of the day,” he told CoinDesk. “So if we look at other projects, for example Tether, there’s a kind of a trust issue. It relates to the fact Tether is not really publishing [its] audit reports and stuff like that.”

A fiat currency transfer is held at an escrow account at BVDH, which then triggers the issuance of the stablecoin, Weniger explained. Stringent regulatory and know-your-customer (KYC) requirements mean the stablecoin will not be openly traded on exchanges.

In terms of use cases, the bank-issued stablecoins will make delivery versus payment (DvP) an efficient process carried out on a blockchain, according to Bitbond's Albrecht.

“In Germany alone we are talking to several real estate developers that would like to issue tokenized securities themselves, but they also want an efficient payment method,” he said.

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