Digital currency start-up Circle Internet Financial has closed a $17 million funding round, including an investment from former Swift chief executive Leonard Schrank.
Schrank - who headed up the interbank co-operative for 15 years between 1992 and 2007 - joins a select list of individual investors named alongside the big guns of Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners and Oak Investment Partners who have put their faith in Circle's plans to bring bitcoin to the masses.
Other Series B investors included Pantera capital, The Bitcoin Opportunity Fund of SecondMarket founder Barry Silbert and Circle Board member Michele Burns. Fenway Summer, a consumer finance advisory and venture firm led by Circle board member Raj Date, also joined the round.
The $17 million war chest adds to the $9 million raised in an October 2013 round for the start-up founded by serial entrepreneur Jeremy Allaire.
To coincide with the fuinding, the company also announced the debut of its initial consumer product in a limited release, which has been made available to select users ahead of a full commercial launch later this year.
Circle has so far been coy about its plans, short of saying that its aim is the deomocratisation of the Bitcoin movement by making it easier for the general public and businesses to switch in and out of fiat currencies and to reduce much of the friction and risk that is currently associated with bitcoin.