Circle’s May 16th announcement heralds continued expansion of Circle Group’s portfolio of blockchain products which includes Circle Invest (retail crypto investing), Circle Trade (OTC crypto desk trading), Poloniex (crypto exchanges) and Circle Pay (social payments app).
Circle co-founder Jeremy Allaire says a price-stable medium of exchange and store of value is required for global financial interoperability in the crypto space to function reliably and consistently. Transacting in currencies which fluctuate with extreme volatility creates complexity and fragile settlement contracts, especially when compared to transacting in “tokenized fiat money” or fiat-pegged crypto assets.
A token pegged to the US dollar is critical for enabling mainstream adoption of blockchain technology for payments, he says, as well as for supporting maturation in financial contracts built on smart contract platforms, such as tokenized securities, loans, and property.
Scheduled to launch during the US summer, Allaire says Circle USDC (USD Coin) is a solution that will enable customers to purchase and use USDC fiat tokens for payments and trading in the crypto ecosystem.
With regards to other USD tethered tokens Circle claims existing fiat-backed approaches lack financial and operational transparency, have operated in unregulated jurisdictions with unknown banking and audit partners, and have been built as closed-loop ecosystems and closed proprietary technologies.
Allaire says Circle USDC will address these problems by providing detailed financial and operational transparency, operating within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws, and reinforced by established banking partners and auditors. USDC will be ERC-20 tokens minted, issued, and redeemed based on network rules defined by Circle's CENTRE foundation.
Chinese mining giant Bitmain is leading a $110M strategic investment in Circle along with with existing investors IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, and Pantera. Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures are also invested. Allaire says Bitmain will assist CENTRE to introduce multiple fiat-backed stablecoins in a variety of geo-currency zones.