Circle Internet Financial has secured a third round of funding, totaling $50 million. The amount exceeds the $40 million reportedly sought and the combined total of $26 million secured in earlier rounds.
The $76 million total to date ranks the third highest in the industry, underscoring the large ambitions Circle has for the world of payments and continued investor confidence in its business model.
Leading the round was Goldman Sachs and China-based IDG Group. Investors from earlier rounds, including Breyer Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Accel Partners, also contributed.
Goldman’s involvement, and particularly its leading role in the round, is noteworthy. Crypto is ironically starting to become popular with traditional financial institutions, which have been either investing in ventures, exploring blockchain technology or even considering the suitability of digital currency for investment.
In general, Goldman has also become increasingly interested in investing in the FinTech space. It just recently invested $20.5 million in high speed data operator Perseus, which caters toward high frequency trading, one of Goldman’s specialties. Tom Jessop, Managing Director in Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investments Group, commented:
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“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 involvement of IDG Group represents the early stages of Circle’s ambitions for China. Circle said it is growing its platform to include important economies and currencies, including the yuan.
IDG has been involved in some of China’s most successful tech stories, including Tencent, Baidu, Ctrip, CreditEase, and Xiaomi. Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire commented that “China is today the center of innovation in mobile apps and digital finance. We have a lot to learn from them, and we’re excited to bridge the dollar economy to the yuan economy using global digital currency.”
Circle is also adding the capability of transferring dollars. Users will also be able to make payments in dollars, which are then converted to bitcoins for merchants that accept them. The feature bears some resemblance to that of Coinbase, which launched USD wallets several months ago. The stated rationale was to allow for instant bitcoin buying, but it would seem intuitive that USD transfers may be enabled one day in the future.
The feature will be gradually introduced by Circle selectively enabling customer accounts.