Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Dublin-based fintech firm Circle raises $110m in funding round

Dublin-based fintech firm Circle raises $110m in funding round

On Tuesday, May 15th, Circle announced a strategic partnership with Bitmain where the latter is said to have invested $110 million in Circle for the development of the CENTRE platform and the USDC project. The first was a $110 million USD Series E equity investment and partnership with mining giant Bitmain; the second was its creation of a tokenized "stablecoin" asset created to hedge against price volatility in crypto transactions. The investment round also included other notable names like Accel and Blockchain Capital. Newcomer investors Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures have also contributed. Circle's New "USD Coin" - A Regulator-Friendly Tether? Circle claims unlike their competitors, the stable coin would be based on the open source fiat stable coin framework developed and governed by CENTRE. Circle has now introduced a new stablecoin called USD Coin whose value at any given point in time will be fixed and equal to one U.S Dollar.

In a blog post, Circle co-founders Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire explained that stablecoin - price-stable currency, such as a token pegged to the Dollars - is critical for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology for payments and supporting maturation in financial contracts built on smart contract platforms.

Circle USDC (USD Coin) will be ERC-20 tokens minted, issued, and redeemed based on network rules defined by CENTRE.

Circle further noted that "Bitmain will help CENTRE introduce multiple fiat stablecoins in a variety of geo-currency zones".

The idea is for exchanges to redeem USDC directly for US dollars (although they may charge a fee to do so), and for other creators to issue tokens based on the world's other fiat currencies.

Gold prices inch 0.2% higher on floppy dollar effect
Holdings of SPDR Gold Trust, the world's largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, fell 0.62 percent to 857.64 tonnes on Friday. Spot gold was up 0.1% at US$1,290.86 an ounce at 1104 GMT, while U.S. gold futures for June delivery were flat at US$1,290.30.

USD-C will mostly be a replacement for Tether which is now still unaudited and pretty shady.

Fiat-backed crypto assets may be a widening trend for the traditional financial sector as well, with Japanese banking conglomerate MUFG also announcing this week it would create a token pegged 1:1 to the Japanese yen (JPY).

However, Circle continued to deploy blockchain technology as a backend mechanism, launching its own protocol called Spark (which later became CENTRE). Circle has raised a total of $250 million in venture capital since Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire (pictured above) founded the company in 2013.

If blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies take off in the way Circle and its partners envision, people will be able to "transmit value to anyone, anywhere, instantly, at zero cost, the same way I can share my opinion globally at zero cost or share content with someone instantly, globally", Allaire told Xconomy.

Earlier, Poloniex was using the USDT token by Tether, however, after a lot of questions being raised about the suspicious operations of Tether in the recent past, Circle chose to have its own stablecoin.

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