Circle (company)

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Circle Internet Financial Limited
Circle Logo.svg
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
peer to peer payments
United States
Founder(s)Jeremy Allaire, Sean Neville
Key peopleJeremy Allaire (CEO)
LaunchedOctober 2013; 6 years ago (2013-10)

Circle is a peer-to-peer payments technology company. It was founded by Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville in October 2013. Circle's mobile payment platform, Circle Pay, allows users to hold, send, and receive traditional fiat currencies .[1] In September 2015, Circle received the first BitLicense issued from the New York State Department of Financial Services.[2][3][4] In April 2016, the British government approved the first virtual currency licensure to Circle.[5] Circle is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.[6]

Up until December 2016, Circle Pay also operated as a Bitcoin wallet service to buy and sell Bitcoins.[7][8][9] It has since ceased to provide such service, claiming the company "is now more than ever not a consumer bitcoin exchange, and will continue to focus resources on global social payments and future next-generation blockchain technology".[10]


The company has received over US$135 million in venture capital from 4 rounds of investments from 2013 to 2016, including US$50 million led by Goldman Sachs.[11][12][13] In April 2015 The New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper wrote that the Goldman Sachs investment "should help solidify Bitcoin’s reputation as a technology that serious financial firms can work with."[14] In June 2016, Circle raised US$60 million in Series D funding backed by new and existing partners.[15] On May 15, 2018, Circle raised US$110 million in venture capital to create an Ethereum coin backed by USD.[16][17]

Services and features[edit]

As of 2015 a Circle account can be funded in USD via "US-issued Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards", US bank accounts.[18] As of 2016, European customers can also use Circle in EUR and GBP.[19] Circle plans to peg the conversion rate to the US Dollar.[20][17] Britain's Financial Conduct Authority granted Circle an electronic money license in April 2016, expanding the use of Circle's services to the United Kingdom and broadening Circle's relationship with UK bank Barclays.[21] In June 2016, Circle announced it will begin expanding its services to China, where CEO Jeremy Allaire believes "there’s an opportunity for Chinese consumers that want to share value globally with friends in other parts of the world."[22]

In December 2016 the Circle app stopped supporting the exchange of bitcoin but still allows money transfers.[23] In October 2017, Circle launched a new service for group payments and cash transfers to US accounts.[24][25] In June 2019 it was announced that the Circle Pay mobile and web apps will be discontinued on September 30th.[26]


On February 26, 2018, Circle announced that they purchased Poloniex Cryptocurrency exchange for $400 million.[27] Amid the developments around the acquisition, one of Circle's leaked documents detailing its plans on operating Poloniex revealed the company's moves to become "The US's First Regulated Crypto Exchange" supported by its mutual understanding with the SEC.

In October 2018 SeedInvest announced they entered an agreement to sell to Circle, subject to FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) approval.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nidhi Subbaraman (25 Sep 2015). "Circle's bitcoin app now lets you send cash". beta Boston. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  2. ^ Vigna, Paul (September 22, 2015). "Moneybeat: Circle Gets First 'BitLicense,' Releases CirclePay, New Service". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.(subscription required)
  3. ^ Woodward, Curt (September 22, 2015). "Circle gets first bitcoin license from New York regulators". beta Boston. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  4. ^ NYDFS (September 22, 2015). "NYDFS Announces Approval of First BitLicense Application from a Virtual Currency From a Virtual Currency Firm". (press release). Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  5. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (2016-04-06). "Bitcoin Start-Up Gets an Electronic Money License in Britain". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  6. ^ "Circle Internet Financial, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  7. ^ Alba, Davey (April 30, 2015). "This Digital Wallet Could Finally Get You Into Bitcoin". WIRED. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  8. ^ Alspach, Kyle (March 27, 2014). "Digital currency firm gets $17m in financing". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  9. ^ Swisher, Kara (March 26, 2014). "Still More Bitcoin Investing: Circle Internet Financial Raises $17 Million from Oak, Others". re/code. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  10. ^ Sean Neville; Jeremy Allaire (2016-12-06). "Spark, New Markets, App Messaging, and Bitcoin Changes". The Circle Blog. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  11. ^ Alden, William (March 26, 2014). "Dealbook: Startup Unveils Bitcoin Payments Product". The New York Times. Retrieved April 18, 2014.
  12. ^ Schroeder, Stan (April 30, 2015). "Bitcoin startup Circle raises $50 million from Goldman Sachs and IDG". Mashable. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  13. ^ Casey, Michael J. (April 30, 2015). "Goldman a Lead Investor in Funding Round for Bitcoin Startup Circle". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.(subscription required)
  14. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (April 30, 2015). "Dealbook: Goldman and IDG Put $50 Million to Work in a Bitcoin Company". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  15. ^ Selina_y_wang, Selina Wang (2016-06-23). "Circle Raises $60 Million in Funding Round Backed by Baidu, IDG". Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 Oct 2018.
  16. ^ Castillo, Michael del (15 May 2018). "Cryptocurrency Startup Circle Raised $110M For Ethereum Coin Backed By U.S. Dollars". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  17. ^ a b Kate Rooney (15 May 2018). "Goldman Sachs-backed start-up Circle introducing a crypto version of the US dollar". CNBC. Retrieved 25 Oct 2018.
  18. ^ "Which debit and credit cards can I use?". Circle FAQ. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Circle and British Pound Sterling, Social Payment App Updates, Limitless Spends and Withdrawals". The Circle Blog. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2017-06-06.
  20. ^ Anna Irrera (15 May 2018). "Circle raises $110 million, plans to create dollar-pegged cryptocurrency". Reuters. Retrieved 25 Oct 2018.
  21. ^ Popper, Nathaniel (2016-04-06). "Bitcoin Start-Up Gets an Electronic Money License in Britain". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Fitz Tepper (12 Jul 2016). "Circle removes ability to buy and sell Bitcoin as it doubles down on mobile payments". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  24. ^ Adrian Weckler (19 Oct 2017). "Dublin payments firm debuts group transfers -". Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  25. ^ Kennedy, John (2017-10-19). "Circle reveals group payments and fast, free cash transfers to US accounts". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Robert Hackett (26 Feb 2018). "This Big Cryptocurrency Acquisition Could Create a Wall Street-Style Financial Giant". Fortune. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  28. ^ Lily Katz (5 Oct 2018). "Circle to Buy SeedInvest to Help Startups Raise Cash With Crypto". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 October 2018.

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