Beijing-based cryptocurrency hardware Bitmain led the Fintech giant’s $110 million Series E funding round. The $110 million raise has also become the largest venture capital round raised by a company from the cryptocurrency or blockchain industry, raising more funds than R3, the banking Consortium that raised $107 million in 2017.
According to the next web, Circle will be developing the USD coin based on an open-source framework for fiat currencies on a blockchain developed by Centre, Circle’s affiliate. As reported by Forbes, hardware giant Bitmain will also be joining Centre.
“We’re trying to build the equivalent of Amazon, while we’re also building HTTP,” said Sean Neville, co-founder of Circle, to Forbes. While these ambitious goals seem like huge endeavors, IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, Digital Currency Group, Pantera, General Catalyst and Accel have all returned for the Series E raise. Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures have also joined as new investors.
Circle’s valuation is approaching the $3 billion mark
Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville co-founded Circle in 2014 as a peer-to-peer payments technology company which has quickly branched out to provide other services in the cryptocurrency industry. The New York-based company currently has a cryptocurrency-based mobile payments app called Circle Pay, a cryptocurrency exchange as they recently acquired Poloniex, and an over-the-counter trading business called Circle Trade. Circle now has 230 employees with over 7 million customers.
Although Jeremy Allaire, Circle co-founder, CEO, and chairman did not disclose exact details of the deal, a representative of the company confirmed that Circle was “approaching” $3 billion. “It’s one of the biggest and possibly one of the most profitable crypto companies in the world,” said Allaire.
Circle aims to make the USD Coin available across its platform the Circle Pay app. Furthermore, the USD Coin will also be available as a trading pair on their cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex.
As for the USD Coin’s stability, the USD Coin will only be “minted” by members from the Centre Foundation. The Foundation will not only become a licensed financial institution but will also hold a one-to-one reserve of USD dollars equivalent to the number of USD Coins issued. The New York-based company’s immediate focus is to therefore not focus on revenue-generating activities but to leverage the Ethereum blockchain to gain instant transaction times.
Circle plans to ensure regulatory compliance
Circle’s USD token is not the first stable coin to enter the market. It’s not even the first stable coin with one-to-one USD reserves. Circle faces significant competition with Tether, a cryptocurrency token pegged to the US dollar. According to CoinMarketCap, Tether is currently the 15th largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $2.3 billion.
Tether, however, has experienced a lot of backlash from the cryptocurrency community. In November 2017, Tether produced 50 million tokens in less than a week. There wasn’t clear proof of backing in their reserves, which have caused the community to remain skeptical of the company’s claims.
Unlike Tether, Circle stated that they would undergo regulatory compliance. Fortune, however, raised concerns over pegged cryptocurrencies in general. It’ll be interesting to see if Circle can provide transparency over their reserves with the USD coin.