USDC issuer Circle raises $400 million in partnership with BlackRock

    14 Apr 2022

    Circle, the issuer of the world’s second-largest stablecoin, USDC, is pursuing international expansion after securing $400 million in funding. BlackRock and Fidelity headlined the new funding round, which follows a $440 million raise last May.

    The capital raise, led by major investors, such as Blackrock, Fidelity Management, Marchall Wace, and Fin Capital, is expected to close in the first half of the year.

    Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s co-founder and chief executive, told City A.M. the company is committed to “aggressively” hiring staff in Britain and exploring the launch of a sterling linked stablecoin, subject to regulatory approval.

    “We’re expanding in the UK,” he confirmed. While Circle currently has just 12 UK employees it is committing “considerable capital” to “aggressively hiring staff.”

    “We would be very excited to issue a pound sterling stablecoin if the regulatory framework becomes clearer, and build on the position that we have with dollars,” said Allaire, adding that he hopes to issue the new asset “as soon as possible.”

    By partnering with ​​BlackRock, Circle is looking to explore capital market applications, per the announcement. BlackRock will also play a role as an asset manager of USDC cash reserves.

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

    For more than five years, Circle has been sending delegates to the UK to cozy up to regulators at HM Treasury, the FCA, and the Bank of England, Allaire revealed.

    Earlier this year, Circle was recently valued at $9 billion after closing a deal to go public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).

    In the past year, the company has been making moves in the direction of becoming a U.S. national bank. In a filing in August of last year, it argued that a banking framework could reduce the risks around its business, including reliance on third-party payment systems.

    It also told The Block in a message that it “intends to become a full-reserve national commercial bank.”

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