Dublin-based cryptocurrency firm Circle raises $110m

Representations of the Ripple Bitcoin Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration

The founders of Circle Internet Financial have a lofty vision for the nascent world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain systems-and their startup's role in it.

In an announcement today, the fintech startup revealed that a new digital currency would be pegged to the US dollar, known as Circle USDC (USD Coin).

Goldman Sachs-backed cryptocurrency startup Circle has raised US$110 million in an investment round led by Chinese virtual coin mining giant Bitmain Technologies, Circle said on Tuesday. The funding round also included IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, and Pantera, along with new investors Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures.

Circle CEO and co-founder Jeremy Allaire said that despite the company celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, this news means he feels that now things are really just getting started. This bold statement was announced yesterday on the company blog along with plans that it is introducing a crypto-currency which is based on the U.S. dollar. Circle's products and services include a mobile payments app, a cryptocurrency trading desk for large "institutional" buyers and sellers, a new app that lets individuals invest in cryptocurrencies, and a cryptocurrency exchange. It recently acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex.

Bringing Poloniex into the fold put Circle on track to generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Fortune reported.

The fintech company, which hasn't disclosed financial results, will probably generate greater revenue in 2018 than past year, even as cryptocurrency trading volume has declined, thanks to the new businesses its launched, Allaire said.

"A price-stable currency, such as a token pegged to the US dollar, is critical for enabling mainstream adoption of blockchain technology for payments as well as for supporting maturation in financial contracts built on smart contract platforms, such as tokenized securities, loans, and property". We're over the moon to have one of the most important and forward-thinking companies join our investor's list. One of these tokens, to be issued this summer, is USD Coin, or USDC, will be backed one-to-one by US dollar.

Working with regulators and established banks has been one of Circle's operating principles, unlike some in the cryptocurrency sector.

USD Coin will be overseen by Centre, a venture Circle created previous year.

A cryptocurrency that is highly linked to a fiat currency would have the ability to add more value to the blockchain ecosystem. "And so, you have a more open, global, inclusive economy that's made possible when this stuff gets delivered at scale". Bitmain and Circle are now partners in a venture to create fiat-based digital tokens, the first of which will be backed by USA dollars and issued by Circle in the summer.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy.

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