Category Archives — Circle

Circle raises $110 million (or 13,300 BTC) – TechCrunch

Cryptocurrency startup Circle has raised a $110 million funding round, which values the company near $3 billion. Cryptocurrency mining company Bitmain is leading the round.

Existing investors IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group and Pantera are investing more money. Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures are investing in Circle for the first time. Goldman Sachs also invested in the company in a previous round.

It’s hard to describe Circle in a few words because the company has been active on all fronts. For a really long time, the company pitched itself as a social payment company, a Venmo and Square Cash competitor. But Circle is more focused than ever on cryptocurrencies.

The company has been operating one of the largest over-the-counter trading desk for big cryptocurrency investors and exchanges. Circle Trade manages more than $2 billion a month in transactions and is able to fulfill large orders and provide liquidity.

More recently, the company launched Circle Invest, a really simple mobile app for the U.S. market. It lets you buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Zcash and Monero in just a few taps. It’s a good way to get started with cryptocurrencies without learning about exchanges and order types. It could become a good Coinbase competitor for small cryptocurrency investors.

And Circle also acquired Poloniex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S.

But the most interesting projects right now are probably CENTRE and a new tokenized USD coin. There are so many different cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, exchanges and wallets that it has become hard to make everything work together. Cryptocurrencies still suffer from price volatility, so bitcoin can’t be the common denominator.

That’s why Circle is creating a token that is pegged to the U.S. dollar. The USD Coin is based on an open source framework developed by CENTRE and everything should be audited regularly.

CENTRE is a Circle initiative to create a common framework to connect all electronic wallets. This protocol could let you send money to an Alipay user with your Square Cash balance.

It’s clear that Circle wants to build the infrastructure of the cryptocurrency industry. The company will need to convince multiple industry players to work with Circle. But it could help the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.

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Circle acquires cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex

Circle just announced that it is acquiring U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. According to Fortune, Circle is paying $400 million for the acquisition. Poloniex has been around for years and used to be one of the biggest exchanges out there — there are now many exchanges competing with Poloniex.

Circle is an interesting startup because it’s hard to keep track of what it does. The company first pitched itself as a bitcoin company that wants to make bitcoin more accessible. Circle wanted to become the PayPal of bitcoin. You could buy and sell bitcoins quickly and easily without any technical knowledge.

But that was in 2013 during the first bitcoin boom. Shortly after that, Circle called itself a social payment company, a Venmo competitor. The words bitcoin and blockchain were completely gone from the company’s website.

“We never thought of ourselves as a Bitcoin startup. The media certainly classified us that way because we were involved with the technology. From the day we founded the company three years ago we’ve focused on trying to build a new consumer finance company. And one that makes money work the way the Internet works,” co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire told TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas in 2016.

More recently, Circle got back into the cryptocurrency game and came full circle.

The peer-to-peer payment service that was called “Circle” is now called Circle Pay. It also runs Circle Trade, an over-the-counter trading desk for large cryptocurrency investors and exchanges.

In other words, Circle Trade fosters liquidity between a handful of fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies. Circle Trade also powers Circle Pay behind the scene. According to Fortune, Circle Trade manages $2 billion a month in transactions and generated $60 million in revenue in just three months.

The company now wants to expand beyond those two products with Circle Invest, an easy-to-use investment app to start buying cryptocurrencies, and Poloniex, a full-fledged exchange.

Fortune also says that Circle is also working on Centre, a protocol that is going to make Alipay, PayPal, Circle and other digital wallets interoperable. And if you’re a Poloniex user, Circle says that the transition should be smooth.

Featured Image: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

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