Crypto startup Circle seeks $250m in funding

It has so far raised $246 million from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Baidu of China and IDG Capital, and was valued at nearly $3 billion last year

Goldman Sachs-backed crypto finance venture, Circle, is looking to raise about $250 million in a combination of equity and debt, The Information reports.

The company was founded in 2013 and offers four products. Circle Invest, Circle Pay, Circle Trade and crypto exchange Poloniex.

Circle did not respond to our request for comment regarding the aforementioned article, which quotes a person with direct knowledge of the plans.

USDC

Earlier this year, Circle predicted significant retailer take up of its USDC stablecoin.

In an AMA reddit thread on 10th January, Jeremy Allaire, CEO and Co-founder, responded to the question: Do you have plans for retailers to accept USDC as a means of payment as this could massively help with crypto adoption?

“The vision behind Centre has always been that we need open protocols and standards for fiat money on the internet, and that such standards would enable people and businesses to exchange value directly and efficiently the same way that we can share content or communicate over open and inter-operable networks (SMTP, VOIP, SMS, HTTP, etc.),” he said. 

There are, however, various issues that need to be tackled. “Centre’s initial release of the USDC smart contract and scheme relies on ERC-20 tokens, which right now means that there’s a bit of a burden on the end-user to have wallets where they pay gas fees and the like,” Allaire noted.

“We believe that we need Layer 2 approaches that can radically scale the throughput and lower the cost to closer to zero for USDC payments, combined with much much better consumer payment UX than what you see in crypto wallets today. We think both of those things are on the horizon in 2019, and we hope to help solve some of those problems.”

In terms of retailer acceptance, USDC will be very attractive, he added. As it’s an open standard, retailers will be able to use any standard digital wallet to accept payments from a growing number of wallets that support USDC. “We also expect to see merchant acquirers and payment processors add support for USDC and other fiat tokens that Centre supports. Already, BitPay provides this service,” Allaire concluded.

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