Circle

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Circle Internet Financial
Circle.png
Founded 2013
Headquarters Boston
Key People Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville, Co-Founders
Employees > 150
Products Payments
Twitter @circlepay
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook circle
Website Circle Homepage
Releases Company News
Blog Circle blog

Circle is a cryptocurrency exchange operator whose origins are in cryptocurrency payment technology but whose interests have expanded into investments, OTC services and cryptocurrency trading.

Background

Circle Internet Financial was launched in October 2013 with $9 million in investments.[1] In late April 2015, Goldman Sachs announced that along with IDG Capital Partners it was planning to lead a $50 million financing round into Circle.[2]

Business Overview

In late February 2018 Circle announced that it was purchasing Poloniex, one of the largest cryptocurrency markets at the time.[3] According to CoinMarketCap, an online industry data reporting service, as of March 5, 2019, Poloniex was the 77th largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, the fifth largest U.S.-based exchange behind Kraken (42), Coinbase Pro (43), Bittrex (51), and Gemini (73).[4]

Bloomberg reported in June that Circle was planning to apply for both banking and securities licenses so its customers could deposit insurable funds with it and trade cryptocurrencies that might be deemed to be securities under U.S. regulations.[5]

In May 2019, sources from Circle reported that the company had revised its fundraising goal from $250 million to $150 million, a decrease of 40 percent. On Twitter, Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire said that 30 positions had been "eliminated" within the company. Allaire said this was due to "new market conditions" and an "increasingly restrictive regulatory climate in the United States. Another employee at Circle said that "no one from the trade desk got cut."[6]

Circle shares offered at discount on alternative investment platform

In February 2019, The Block reported that private shares of Circle were being offered at a massive discount on SharesPost, a platform] for accredited investors to exchange shares of private companies (the discounted shares were being sold at $3.80, while shares of Circle at the time of its Series E fundraise in May 2018 were being sold at $16.23). This implied a significant disparity in the company's total valuation ($3.01 billion vs. $705 million), depending on the number of shares that were being sold at the discounted price. The story said it was unclear how many shares were being offered at this price.[7]

SeedInvest Acquisition

In October 2018, Circle co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville announced that Circle would acquire crowdfunding Internet platform, SeedInvest, which also included a registered brokder Dealer, SI Securities. According to the co-foundrs, "The SeedInvest product includes many of the end-to-end capabilities needed for executing regulated crowdfunding, including startup due diligence, securities issuance, investor accreditation, payments and securities custody, as well as a broad range of innovative tools for startups to market their crowdfunding offerings online in a compliant fashion. With the merger and approval from key regulators, these capabilities will be expanded to support crypto-denominated investments including using fiat stablecoins such as USDC, as well as issuing and offering tokenized securities."[8]

Circle reported on March 4, that the transaction had been approved by U.S. self-regulatory organization FINRA and was closed.[9]

On April 26, 2019, Circle and SeedInvest revealed in a blogpost that SeedInvest had been approved by Finra to operate an ATS which will let it trade equities.[10]

Stablecoin

In September 2018, Circle launched the Centre Consortium to develop and launch a new stablecoin tied to the U.S. dollar. The company was joined by the U.S.-based exchange Coinbase in October 2018.[11][12]

On January 17, 2019, the Centre Consortium published an attestation provided by the independent accounting firm Grant Thornton to Circle that there were $251,211,209 held by Circle in custody accounts against the total issuance of 251,211,148 USDC.[13]

In late January 2019, Circle released a report that over 100 crypto-focused businesses, including exchanges, wallets, platforms, apps, and service providers had adopted USDC.[14]

John Lothian News

Circle was highlighted in a recap of Consensus 2018 by CMW contributing editor Chuck Mackie. You can read the article here.

References