Crypto-unicorn: $3bn valuation as Dublin’s Circle raises $110m

16 May 20181.38k Views

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Circle plans to create a digital version of the US dollar called USD Coin. Image: BestStockFoto/Shutterstock

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Circle has ambitions to roll out a crypto version of the US dollar.

Dublin peer-to-peer payments and wallet platform Circle is now understood to be valued at nearly $3bn after it closed a $110m Series E funding round led by Chinese bitcoin-mining player Bitmain.

The latest funding round will enable Circle to roll out a digital version of the US dollar called USD Coin (USDC), a cryptocurrency tied to the value of the US dollar.

‘A price-stable currency, such as a token pegged to the US dollar, is critical for enabling mainstream adoption of blockchain technology for payments’
– CIRCLE FOUNDERS

The round also included support from: Accel, Blockchain Capital, Breyer, Digital Currency Group, General Catalyst, IDG, Pantera and Tusk Ventures.

Crypto goes mainstream

Circle was founded in Dublin and London by Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire as a wallet-based service for consumers to transfer funds digitally via a mobile app. The company has its international headquarters in Dublin, as well as an office in Shoreditch, London.

In February, it emerged that Circle had confirmed the purchase of US-based Poloniex in a deal estimated at $400m that would enable Circle to directly compete with one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, Coinbase.

Circle explained that USDC is a solution that enables customers to purchase and use USDC fiat tokens for payments and trading in the crypto ecosystem. USDC provides a full-reserve, dollar-backed stablecoin, and is based on the open source fiat stablecoin framework developed and governed by Centre, which will provide independent oversight of Circle’s offering.

In a blogpost, Allaire and Neville explained: “A price-stable currency, such as a token pegged to the US dollar, is critical for enabling mainstream adoption of blockchain technology for payments as well as for supporting maturation in financial contracts built on smart contract platforms, such as tokenised securities, loans and property.”

They said that Circle has grown to encompass multiple products, including Circle Invest, Circle Trade, Circle Pay and Poloniex.

“The pending introduction of USDC and other future stablecoins will impact and improve all of these products.

“We wholeheartedly believe that an open internet of value exchange can transform and integrate the world more deeply, eventually eliminating artificial economic borders and enabling a more efficient and inclusive global marketplace that connects every person on the planet.

“We see the future of the global economy as open, shared, inclusive, distributed and powerful – not only for a few chosen gatekeepers, but for all who will connect,” the Circle founders said.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com