UPDATED 12:50 EDT / APRIL 12 2022

BLOCKCHAIN

Stablecoin issuer Circle raises $400M and deepens partnership with BlackRock

Circle Internet Financial Inc., cryptocurrency services provider and issuer of the stablecoin USD Coin, said today that it has raised $400 million in new funding and inked a partnership with BlackRock.

The funding round included investments from multinational investment firm BlackRock Inc., advisory firm Fidelity Management and Research, London-based hedge fund Marshall Wallace LLP and Fin Capital. It follows a $440 million funding round raised in May.

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency that are “pegged” to a particular currency — in the case of USDC, the U.S. dollar — so that the value retains price stability with the pegged currency and are backed with a reserve asset.

They are primarily used to facilitate trades on crypto exchanges, instead of buying bitcoin directly with U.S. dollars, traders often exchange a stablecoin for another cryptocurrency and vice versa. When it comes time to cash out, that stablecoin is instead used to trade for dollars.

“Dollar digital currencies like USDC are fueling a global economic transformation, and Circle’s technology infrastructure sits at the center of that change,” said Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and chief executive of Circle. “This funding round will drive the next evolution of Circle’s growth.”

In conjunction with its funding for Circle, BlackRock is expanding its partnership with Circle to explore capital market applications of USDC.

BlackRock is currently the primary asset manager for the USDC cash reserves. Circle says its stablecoin is backed by collateral made up of cash and cash equivalents, and to do this it uses partners such as BlackRock.

By deepening its partnership with Circle, BlackRock can dip into the growing market for USDC, which has more than $50 billion worth of tokens currently in circulation. Circle represents the second largest stablecoin by market cap, second only to Tether, and is currently the fifth-largest cryptocurrency overall.

In order to facilitate further applications of its stablecoin, grow its ecosystem and support its customers and keep up with anticipated regulations, Circle is planning to become a fully registered bank. The company announced its plans to become a full-reserve commercial bank in August and register with the U.S. Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury.

Also last year, the U.S. House Financial Services Committee began to discuss crypto regulations in December and discussed the implications of stablecoins specifically. Most recently, Sen. Patrick Toomey announced a bill, dubbed the “Stablecoin TRUST Act,” that would put in place a regulatory framework for licensing stablecoins.

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