Some may remember that earlier this year, Iran signed an agreement with Russia under which it has broken free from the petrodollar, whereby it would “sell” or more precisely barter crude oil to Russia in exchange for products. The headline is indeed worth paying attention to, after all commodity transactions are settled using dollars and certain countries have long voiced their opinion that the reliance on dollars needs to be reduced. However, could this move set the precedence for others to follow and therefore set the motion to demote the dollar from its long-held throne?
One of the main issues and there are plenty to consider for this to happen, is that the countries that have long complained about the dollar and its supremacy, do in fact hold vast amount of dollar denominated debt in reserves. Any significant debasement of the dollar this way and via cross border selling of US Treasuries will have a devastating impact on the domestic currency and the economy. This unintended consequence would be very difficult to avoid and the likely capital flight alone will be enough to keep the local central bankers awake at night for months to come. Some have pointed out that with the onset of crypto revolution, the writing is already on the wall for the dollar. Again, there is little evidence of that just yet, in fact the adoption of cryptocurrencies across the developed states has been rather slow.
Cryptocurrencies may hold the power to significantly devalue the dollar over a period of time, but it is unlikely to be directly orchestrated through bilateral trade agreements. Blockchain solutions addressing the archaic nature of trade finance may be the ones that will have a much larger implication on dollar denominated flow, since the transactions on such platforms will not be made using fiat money.23