Circle, a consumer finance provider that allows users to make payments using digital currencies, has announced a new $50 million strategic investment round co-led by Goldman Sachs and IDG Capital Partners.
In addition to the investment round, Circle is expanding it's product offering beyond digital currencies, such as bitcoin, and will give users the ability to hold, send and receive US dollars. Dollar account balances held by Circle customers are FDIC-insured.
Circle will handle instant conversion from dollars into bitcoin, and vice-versa, at the time of the payment. According to a Circle blog, this allows customers to 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.
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.
In a blog post, Circle states that the capabilities and captial brought by the new investment rouind will help them build 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, says: “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 investment by China-based IDG Capital will enable Circle to expand its services to the chinese market. In addition to bitcoin and now the US dollar, the cCrcle platform will be expand to unclude the Chinese yaun, as well. .
"Consumer finance is undergoing a profound transformation with the rise of mobile payment applications and a growing appetite for financial products from non-traditional providers. We feel that Circle is strongly positioned to capitalize on these trends. We are very excited about our investment and look forward to helping launch the company in the Chinese market where consumer adoption of innovative digital payment products is growing at a tremendous rate," says Quan Zhou, managing director of IDG Capital Partners and Circle board member.