May 1, 2015
Bitcoin startup Circle has closed a new $50 million strategic investment round co-led by Goldman Sachs and IDG Capital Partners. Goldman Sachs and China-based IDG Capital Partners were joined by all of Circle’s existing investors in the round, including Breyer Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Accel Partners, Oak Investment Partners, Fenway Summer, Digital Currency Group, Pantera Capital, and strategic individuals.
Circle is now giving its customers the ability to hold, send, and receive US dollars as well as bitcoin -- instantly, securely, and with no fees. In addition to sending and receiving dollars, customers can also enjoy the benefits of the Bitcoin network without the risk of price volatility. The fresh capital will help the company develop itself as a new kind of global consumer finance company, one based on open platforms, open source software, and ubiquitous mobile devices.
Tom Jessop, Managing Director in Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investments Group, said in an official blog post: As the financial services industry continues to become more digital and open, we see significant opportunities in companies and solutions that have the promise to transform global markets through technical innovation. We think that Circle’s product vision and exceptional management team present a compelling opportunity in the digital payments space.
The backing by IDG Capital Partners brings a strategic capability to Circle as its brings its products and services to China. The team behind Circle believes in a hybrid digital economy in which value moves freely around the world and converts into other currencies -- including both crypto and fiat currencies -- seamlessly, safely, and instantly. With that notion, Circle is growing its platform to include important economies and currencies such as US dollars and Chinese yuan.
Regarding the new US dollar feature, dollar account balances held by Circle customers are FDIC-insured. Circle’s robust support for Bitcoin also gets even better. If customers choose to hold dollars instead of bitcoin balances, they can still pay any person or merchant who accepts payment in bitcoin, without ever holding bitcoin themselves. Circle will handle instant conversion from dollars into bitcoin at the time of the payment. The reverse is also true: customers can accept bitcoin and expect Circle to convert it instantly into dollars in their Circle accounts. This gives customers the benefits of bitcoin payments without the risk of price volatility. This way, customers can choose to view Bitcoin not as a new currency to replace the dollar, but as an internet payment network that enables secure, instant, global and nearly free payments.