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Leveraging Ponzi-like Designs in Stablecoins
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  • Qin Wang,
  • Shange Fu,
  • Jiangshan Yu,
  • Shiping Chen
Qin Wang
Data61

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Shange Fu
Monash University
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Jiangshan Yu
Monash University
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Shiping Chen
Data61
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Abstract

Stablecoin is a medium of exchange with stable value in the world of decentralized finance (DeFi). In which, algorithmic stablecoins are one special type of stablecoins that are not backed by any asset. They stand to revolutionize the way a sovereign fiat operates. As implemented, algorithmic stablecoins are poorly stabilized in most cases; their prices easily deviate from the target or even fall into a catastrophic collapse, and are as a result often dismissed as a Ponzi scheme. However, what is the essence of Ponzi? In this paper, we try to clarify such a deceptive concept and reveal how algorithmic stablecoins work from a higher level. We find that Ponzi is basically a financial protocol that pays existing investors with funds collected from new ones. Running a Ponzi, however, does not necessarily imply that any participant is in any sense losing out, as long as the game can be perpetually rolled over. Economists call such realization as a rational Ponzi game. We thereby propose a rational model in the context of algorithmic stablecoins and draw its holding conditions. We apply the model to examine: whether or not the algorithmic stablecoin is a rational Ponzi game. Accordingly, we discuss two types of algorithmic stablecoins (Rebase & Seigniorage Shares) and dig into the historical market performance of a number of impactful projects to demonstrate the effectiveness of our model.
01 Aug 2023Submitted to International Journal of Network Management
01 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
01 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
16 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
16 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
14 Sep 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Major