Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is ramping up stablecoin support around the world. Customers can now trade USD Coin (or USDC for short) in 85 countries — USDC support was only available in the U.S., excluding New York. You can trade USDC on both Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.
The company has been aggressive when it comes to international expansion. Coinbase is currently available in more than 100 countries — 85 out of 103 countries support USDC. But there’s a trick. Many countries can only exchange crypto assets for other assets — there’s no crypto-to-fiat conversions.
As the name suggests, a USDC is a token that is worth exactly 1 USD. Its value is stable against USD. That’s why people call this type of assets stablecoins. Coinbase and other USDC partners store USD in a bank account every time they issue a token.
And it’s clear that many customers living in countries suffering from inflation are going to love USDC. For instance, Argentina had a 47% inflation rate in 2018 alone. Rents, mortgages and basic goods end up costing a lot more than before. Your savings also represent a smaller sum of money if you convert it to USD.
Many people have already been using cryptocurrencies to avoid inflation. But it also creates tremendous risks as most cryptocurrencies still suffer from price fluctuation.
USDC could be part of the solution. You could use an exchange to convert some bitcoins into USDC and then store them on a secure wallet.
Here’s a list of new countries with crypto-to-crypto trading: Angola, Armenia, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Montenegro, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Paraguay, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Zambia.
Correction: A previous version of this article said USDC was already available in 35 countries and expanding to 50 additional countries. USDC was only available in the U.S. (excluding NY) and is expanding to 84 new countries today.
Disclosure: I own small amounts of various cryptocurrencies.