Circle, the blockchain startup backed by Goldman Sachs, announced Friday it is spinning out its US-licensed crypto exchange Poloniex, which was expected to capture more value for the parent company when it acquired last year in a deal reportedly worth $400 million.
Now, an Asian investment group has submitted a proposal to back Poloniex, which will rebrand as Polo Digital Assets, and would result in the full separation of the crypto business from Circle. The crypto unicorn said it is confident that the spinoff provides strong footing for Poloniex to continue its journey as a thriving, independent company.
After eliminating 30 positions or 10 percent of its workforce, citing regulatory uncertainty, Poloniex’s new backers plan to employ more than 100 full-time employees. The new investors will also invest more than $100 million into the development and expansion of Poloniex.
Circle said unloading Poloniex will free its resources to focus on expanding USD Coin ecosystem as the company is part of a consortium, which includes rival exchange Coinbase, which is offering US dollar-pegged cryptocurrency.
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Poloniex to bar US customers
The new developments also affect Poloniex US operations as the new entity plans to close access to trading for clients from the United States. The crypto venue said the new restrictions would be imposed effective November 1, where US residents will no longer be able to trade on the exchange. They will have until December 15 to withdraw funds through wallet and custody services operated by Circle.
The move comes as Circle has expanded into a wide range of crypto-related businesses, including Circle Invest, which enables purchases of 11 different coins and Circle Trade, an OTC marketplace that handles turnover of more than $2 billion each month.
The Boston-based firm also seeks to lock in large institutional clients while expanding outside the highly regulated realm of the US crypto industry. Most recently, it launched and licensed a new subsidiary in Bermuda, and also acquired SeedInvest, an alternative trading system licensed under FINRA. There are rumors that Circle will apply for a banking license too.
Circle is one of the few unicorns in the crypto industry. The company is heavily backed by giants, including Goldman Sachs, Pantera Capital, IDG Capital, and Breyer Capital.
Along with its existing $246 million funding, the company is reportedly eyeing to raise another $250 million in a combination of equity and debt.