To make an origami stablecoin you’ll need a bank account, a square of paper and a pen. I’ll discuss the global politics of issuing these a bit later, but before you can issue one you must first produce it, so lay the square of paper out and mark it as follows.
IOU is short for ‘I Owe You’. We write this on the paper because a basic stablecoin is a voucher or promissory note (in common language, a promise).
Who is the I though, and who is the U? In my case the I is me, Brett Scott. I’m the one issuing the promise. The U is going to be left open-ended. It will be whoever ends up holding the stablecoin, so let’s just call them ‘the Bearer’. Flip the paper around as shown and write these as follows.
Leaving the bearer unnamed is important, because it makes this a bearer instrument. Whoever holds it is the owner. Some vouchers are bearer instruments (I Owe Whoever Holds This X), and others are not (I Owe Specific Person X).
But what do I owe? The promise inscribed on a voucher could be for specific real goods and services (for example, I owe you three freshly baked muffins), but it could also be a voucher for money (which, in very broad terms, is something that’s come to operate as a claim on good and services in general). The units you see in your bank account are like this: they are Layer 2 vouchers for Layer 1 government money, and a basic stablecoin - similarly - is a Layer 3 voucher for those Layer 2 vouchers.