After raising $110M, Circle raises announces new USA dollar-linked cryptocurrency

Daniel Fowler
May 17, 2018

Boston-based Circle announced Tuesday it raised $110 million in a Series E equity funding round, and it plans to launch a new cryptocurrency pegged to the price of the US dollar and backed by reserves of the fiat currency. Yes, technically this new digital coin made by Circle and Tether essentially do the same thing, but what makes them stand apart is their platforms.

In an official press release, Circle revealed the release of USD Coin, a stablecoin backed by real FIAT currency (in this case US Dollars) that would be used on a daily basis in Poloniex, to begin with.

Goldman Sachs backed institutional cryptocurrency exchange has just added a new investor to its list, the Chinese crypto mining firm Bitmain.

Circle, which is valued at almost €3 bilion following the latest round, also announced a new virtual currency or so-called "stablecoin", known as Circle USDC, which is to run on ethereum, will be pegged to the US dollar.

The new coin will be based on a framework "developed and governed by CENTRE, which will provide independent oversight of Circle's offering".

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Circle uses the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin to operate an app-based peer-to-peer payment network, and is one of the leading players in the over-the-counter market for bitcoin trading.

Known as 'CENTRE', the project seeks to create a way for digital wallets (like Venmo, Alipay or the startup's own Circle Pay) to communicate with one another. "It is hard to use something like bitcoin if the volatility is so high", Circle's founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire stated. This is likely why the institution is investing as much as it has been in cryptocurrency, which is to control as much of the market as it can and profit from it in whatever way possible.

With this investment - which follows previous rounds involving Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst, and Accel Partners - the Boston company jumped to a massive valuation of around Dollars 3 billion, instantly making it one of the most valuable crypto companies in the world. We are excited to be working directly with Bitmain on realizing our shared vision.

"Circle can be an issuer of USA dollar coin, Square (a payments company) could be an issuer". Without naming Tether or Bitfinex, the Circle founders stated that other stablecoins "have lacked financial and operational transparency" and "operated in unregulated jurisdictions". It forms the backbone of Circle's blockchain payments network CENTRE, and will be available to trade on any exchange that accepts it, starting with Circle-acquired Poloniex. Initially announced late a year ago, CENTRE would allow both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies to be transferred in a digital form, that will be based on Ethereum blockchain with its own ERC-20 token.

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