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Author:Azar, Pablo D. 

Discussion Paper
Runs on Stablecoins

Stablecoins are digital assets whose value is pegged to that of fiat currencies, usually the U.S. dollar, with a typical exchange rate of one dollar per unit. Their market capitalization has grown exponentially over the last couple of years, from $5 billion in 2019 to around $180 billion in 2022. Notwithstanding their name, however, stablecoins can be very unstable: between May 1 and May 16, 2022, there was a run on stablecoins, with their circulation decreasing by 15.58 billion and their market capitalization dropping by $25.63 billion (see charts below.) In this post, we describe the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20230712

Working Paper
Runs and Flights to Safety: Are Stablecoins the New Money Market Funds?

Stablecoins and money market funds both seek to provide investors with safe, money-like assets but are vulnerable to runs in times of stress. In this paper, we investigate similarities and differences between the two, comparing investor behavior during the stablecoin runs of 2022 and 2023 to investor behavior during the money market fund runs of 2008 and 2020. We document that, similarly to money market fund investors, stablecoin investors engage in flight to safety, with net flows from riskier to safer stablecoins during run periods. However, whereas in money market funds, run risk has ...
Working Papers , Paper 23-11

Discussion Paper
Stablecoins and Crypto Shocks

In a previous post, we described the rapid growth of the stablecoin market over the past few years and then discussed the TerraUSD stablecoin run of May 2022. The TerraUSD run, however, is not the only episode of instability experienced by a stablecoin. Other noteworthy incidents include the June 2021 run on IRON and, more recently, the de-pegging of USD Coin’s secondary market price from $1.00 to $0.88 upon the failure of Silicon Valley Bank in March 2023. In this post, based on our recent staff report, we consider the following questions: Do stablecoin investors react to broad-based ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20240308

Report
Runs and Flights to Safety: Are Stablecoins the New Money Market Funds?

Similar to the more traditional money market funds (MMFs), stablecoins aim to provide investors with safe, money-like assets. We investigate similarities and differences between these two investment products. Like MMFs, stablecoins suffer from “flight-to-safety” dynamics: we document net flows from riskier to safer stablecoins on days of crypto-market stress and estimate a discrete “break-the-buck” threshold of $1, below which stablecoin redemptions accelerate. We then focus on two specific stablecoin runs, in 2022 and 2023, showing that the same flight-to-safety dynamics also ...
Staff Reports , Paper 1073

Working Paper
Runs and Flights to Safety: Are Stablecoins the New Money Market Funds?

Stablecoins and money market funds both seek to provide investors with safe, money-like assets but are vulnerable to runs in times of stress. In this paper, we investigate similarities and differences between the two, comparing investor behavior during the stablecoin runs of 2022 and 2023 to investor behavior during the money market fund runs of 2008 and 2020. We document that, similar to money market fund investors, stablecoin investors engage in flight-to-safety, with net flows from riskier to safer stablecoins during run periods. However, whereas in money market funds run risk has ...
Supervisory Research and Analysis Working Papers , Paper SRA 23-02

Working Paper
Runs and Flights to Safety: Are Stablecoins the New Money Market Funds?

Similar to the more traditional money market funds (MMFs), stablecoins aim to provide investors with safe, money-like assets. We investigate similarities and differences between these two investment products. Like MMFs, stablecoins suffer from “flight-to-safety” dynamics: we document net flows from riskier to safer stablecoins on days of crypto-market stress and estimate a discrete “break-the-buck” threshold of $1, below which stablecoin redemptions accelerate. We then focus on two specific stablecoin runs, in 2022 and 2023, showing that the same flight-to-safety dynamics also ...
Supervisory Research and Analysis Working Papers , Paper SRA 23-02

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