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Van Eck Heir to Launch Agora Digital Dollar Stablecoin with $12M VC Backing

Nick van Eck, heir to the VanEck fortune, is launching the Agora digital dollar (AUSD) stablecoin with $12M in VC backing, targeting international markets with a focus on transparency and trust.

Nick van Eck Sets Sights on International Markets for AUSD

Nick van Eck, the son of Jan van Eck, CEO of the $90 billion asset management firm VanEck, is poised to launch a new U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin, Agora digital dollar (AUSD), following a successful $12 million funding round. The venture aims to carve out a niche in the competitive stablecoin market, focusing on transparency and trust in managing digital dollar assets.

Backing and Management

AUSD will be fully backed by cash, U.S. Treasury bills, and overnight repo agreements. VanEck will manage a fund for Agora's reserves, ensuring a solid foundation for the stablecoin's value. Kyle DaCrzu, VanEck's director of digital assets, emphasized the importance of having reliable institutions manage the assets of digital dollars.

Source: Agora

Funding and Team

The seed funding round was led by digital asset venture capital firm Dragonfly, with contributions from Robot Ventures, Wintermute, Breed, and General Catalyst, where Nick van Eck previously worked as a partner. The Agora team includes crypto veterans Drake Evans, former head of lending at Frax Finance, and Joe McGrady, former director of operations at Galaxy Digital.

Source: Drake Evans

Market Strategy and Regulations

Agora will initially target markets outside the U.S., awaiting comprehensive federal legislation for stablecoins in the country. Nick van Eck sees potential for the digital dollar in regions like Argentina and Southeast Asia, where a stable digital currency could offer significant benefits.

Positioning in the Stablecoin Market

The stablecoin market is dominated by giants like Tether (USDT) and Circle (USDC), with market caps of $104.3 billion and $32.5 billion, respectively. Despite the crowded field, Agora aims to establish strong partnerships across the cryptocurrency ecosystem, from exchanges and custodians to decentralized applications and trading firms, to secure its place in the market.

Income and Stability

Unlike the TerraClassicUSD (USTC), which offered income to holders before its collapse, AUSD holders will not receive income. This approach emphasizes stability and security over yield generation, aligning with Agora's commitment to transparency and trustworthiness.