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Circle calls for Fed backing for USDC; picks France for European HQ

Circle calls for Fed backing for USDC; picks France for European HQ

Having just been forced to shift $3.3 billion of cash out of Silicon Valley Bank, USD Coin issuer Circle is calling on the Federal Reserve to back its stablecoin. Separately, the firm has picked crypto-friendly France for its European headquarters.

Last week, Circle revealed that it had $3.3 billion of its $40 billion USDC reserves at failed SVB. The news saw investors cash out over $2 billion worth of the stablecoin, breaking its peg with the US dollar.

While the money in SVB and the dollar peg were recovered, USDC's market cap took a hit and Circle is now reiterating its call for regulation that would make it a full reserve federally supervised institution.

At a conference held at Warwick Business School, Circle’s Tarleton Watkins said that one long term option for retail stablecoins could involve a wholesale CBDC at the Fed as a backing instrument, but in the meantime holding dollar reserves with the Fed rather than various financial partners would be a logical step in light of SVB’s failure.

Watkins told his audience: "In some ways, the events surrounding SVB act as a vindication of what we have been advocating for and that is a full Fed reserve model, where we could have access to risk-free cash.

"Although it is rare to have cascading bank failures, like in the financial crisis of 2008, this event with SVB put Circle through a very serious stress test, and we have come through it."

Meanwhile, Circle has filed applications in France to become both a licensed Electronic Money Institution and a registered Digital Asset Service Provider. The move comes as Circle looks to expand its operations in Europe and push its EUROC stablecoin.

Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). Circle's intent to pursue full approval from the AMF could make it the first company to receive full authorisation under the DASP regulatory regime.

Registration with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers will enable Circle to offer a suite of products and services to customers in France and let it on-shore EUROC and begin the process of enabling it to become a Markets in Crypto-Assets conforming e-money token under the new regime.

"We are excited to kick our European growth strategy into high-gear with this application. France's comprehensive efforts towards innovation-forward crypto regulation are commendable and closely align with Circle's vision for the future of the digital payments sector," says Jeremy Allaire, CEO, Circle.

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