Goldman Sachs-backed crypto firm Circle launches stablecoin

The new USDC cryptocurrency, which is pegged to the US dollar, allows individuals and institutions to tokenise fiat currency for use in cross-border transactions

Goldman Sachs-backed crypto finance company Circle has officially launched its stablecoin USD Coin (USDC), the $3 billion startup has announced.

The USDC’s value is pegged to the US dollar and backed by physical currency stored in company-held bank accounts. It is designed to allow individuals and institutions to tokenise fiat currency for use in global trading and other cross-border transactions that need to be settled quickly.

“When we founded Circle five years ago, we and many in the crypto community envisioned fiat money and financial contracts executing on top of distributed public network infrastructure,” say Circle Co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville in a joint statement.

They envisioned “building on open standards that would allow us all to share value as instantly and easily as we can access content in web browsers and exchange messages in email and messaging apps.”

A stablecoin to transact with one another

Allaire and Neville add that “just as HTTPS, SMTP and SIP-enabled free borderless information sharing and communications, crypto assets and blockchain technology will enable us to exchange value and similarly transact with one another: instantly, globally, securely and at low cost.”

The USDC is available through Circle’s Poloniex exchange and Circle Trade. The firm anticipates its cryptocurrency will also be available on other exchanges such as DigiFinex, CoinEx, KuCoin, and OKCoin.

Partners and standards

More than 30 Circle partners have announced their support for USDC, including BitGo, Cobo, Coinbase Wallet, and imToken.

The USDC tokens are compliant with the ERC-20 standard and can be cashed back out to bank accounts. The firm explains that tokenising dollars can be done without fees, but converting the stablecoin back to the dollar will be burdened with a 0.1% commission.

Unlike other stablecoins, the USDC is “going to have broad industry support right out of the gate. Because it’s built on an open standard, anyone can implement it”.

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