Circle获得比特大陆领投1.1亿美元 - 互联网金融门户 未央网

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Circle获得比特大陆领投1.1亿美元

“比特币独角兽”俱乐部现在迎来了一位新成员。

本周二,加密货币公司Circle宣布完成1.1亿美元E轮融资,这使这家公司的估值达到近30亿美元。本轮融资由中国加密货币矿机制造商比特大陆(Bitmain)领投, Accel、Blockchain Capital、Breyer、Digital Currency Group(DCG)、General Catalyst、IDG、Pantera和Tusk Ventures参投。

凭借本轮融资,Circle还公布了一项雄心勃勃的计划——通过自己的CENTRE项目发行一种“美元币(USD-C)”来推动其产品和服务,或者说是一种区块链本地资产,并且将由真正的政府货币来监管和支持。

通过这种方式,Circle首席执行官Jeremy Allaire认为这轮融资帮助他们定位为一家真正的加密货币服务企业,而不是一家交易所或支付服务创业公司,改变外界过去对该公司的定位。

Allaire表示:

“我们的愿景的核心部分就是开放的协议,使价值的自由流动成为可能。必须要有开放的、可互操作的标准来衡量我们的法定货币如何通过区块链转移,这才是真正的关键所在。这是法定稳定数字货币(stablecoin)和支付协议发挥作用的地方。

除了技术上的新颖性外,Allaire还将稳定数字货币(stablecoin)项目定位为Circle成熟和持续扩张的关键,将其作为移动支付应用、场外交易(OTC)业务和其兑换服务的一部分。

这次的产品发布还正值硅谷投资者对此类产品的投资表现出偏好之际,这要多亏stablecoin在推动全球加密货币交易所以及与当今市场领导者所感知到的问题过程中发挥的巨大作用。

Allaire说,正是这个愿景才使得比特大陆成为领投这轮融资的自然人选。

今年3月份,比特大陆吴忌寒曾在美国的主要会议上露面,他声称要支持高科技产品替代中央银行业务。

总而言之,这笔资金还将帮助增加Circle的员工人数。目前,该公司在全球拥有逾200名员工,包括波士顿、旧金山、都柏林、伦敦、巴黎、马德里、香港、北京和深圳。

稳定数字货币(stablecoin)出现新转折

不过,尽管Circle的融资规模和估值可能会占据多数媒体的头条,但对加密货币市场产生最大影响的可能还是他们在比特大陆参与下推出的一项美元加密货币计划。

据Allaire所说,这项计划是具有战略性的,Circle将瞄准加密经济最重要的元素之一。

“这是重要的一环,我们已经收购了加密货币交易所Poloniex。用户现在通过像Tether这类东西来处理法定货币,但我们看到了Tether的很多弱点和挑战。”

确实如此,Allaire并不是唯一这样认为的,很多评论人员都认为Tether是系统的薄弱环节,Tether与交易所Bitfinex之间的联系一直很有争议,该交易所一直存在着监管问题,威胁到了市场完整性。

不过,值得注意的是,Circle将寻求一种采用一种开放的方式来发行美元代币,将CENTRE项目定位为一个具有更健壮治理模式的开源项目。

他们的愿景是,受监管的金融机构,无论它们是加密交易所还是汇款机构,都将被CENTRE授权成为“稳定数字货币”的发行方,许多发行方可以提供和管理不同的由法定货币支持的加密货币。

他解释说,“Circle可能会是美元代币的发行方,Square也可能是发行方。如果我从Circle获得美元代币,那么我可以将它们转移到另一个发行方的数字钱包。”

支付的基础

但是,如果所有关于交易所和加密货币基础设施的讨论让人们认为Circle正偏离其更专注于消费者的产品,那么Allaire对此是不赞同的。

Allaire继续说:

“为了实现无处不在的支付的愿景,我们需要的是可以存储、结算和使用的货币。”

凭借这笔融资,该公司还发布了一份关于其“稳定数字货币”工作的新白皮书,以及一份FAQ,让其他人了解这项工作,让他们能够参与到这个新的市场圈子里,希望他们能成为管理者。

在这些资料中,值得注意的是,所有USD-C代币都将在以太坊上发行,这是一个值得注意的细节,因为以太坊平台在扩容以支持其当前的用户多样性方面存在问题。(该公司表示,预计今年夏天将会有更多关于该项目的公告)。

不过,总体而言,这是为了将不透明的离岸市场重新引入受监管的加密货币经。Allaire表示,CENTRE将要求成员进行合规和资产负债表审计,以确保资产得到适当的支持。

通过这种方式,Allaire简洁地总结了他的观点,认为现有的市场选择只不过是聪明的“监管伎俩”。

他总结说:

“CENTRE模式是公开在一个受监管环境下的,与真正的银行服务连接,并且建立在开放标准的基础上。”

The 'bitcoin unicorn' club now has another member.

Announced Tuesday, Circle has closed a $110 million Series E fundraising, a figure that effectively values the startup at nearly $3 billion, according to figures from the company. Led by China-based mining outfit Bitmain, the round includes support from Accel, Blockchain Capital, Breyer, Digital Currency Group, General Catalyst, IDG, Pantera and Tusk Ventures.

With the funding, the company is also revealing an ambitious plan to bolster its products and services by launching a "US dollar coin," or a blockchain native asset that would be both regulated and backed by real government currency, through its affiliate CENTRE project.

In this way, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire framed the round as one that helps it position itself as a true conglomerate of cryptocurrency services, as opposed to just an exchange or payment startup, both characterizations having been given to the company in the past.

Allaire told CoinDesk:

"A core part of vision is open-protocols that would enable the free movement of value. A real critical piece is there has to be open, interoperable standards for our how fiat money can move over blockchains. That's where fiat stablecoins and payment protocols come into play."

More than a technical novelty, Allaire positioned the stablecoin project as essential to Circle's maturation and continued expansion, painting it as integral for its mobile payments application, its over-the-counter (OTC) trading business and its exchange service.

The launch also comes at a time when Silicon Valley investors have shown a preference for investments in such products, owing to the massive role stablecoins play in facilitating global cryptocurrency exchange and the perceived issues with today's market leaders.

It's this vision, Allaire said, that made Bitmain, the controversial cryptocurrency mining giant, a natural fit to lead the funding round.

As recently as March, Bitmain co-CEO Jihan Wu had made appearances at major U.S. conferences where he vowed to back high-tech alternatives to central banking.

All told, the funding will also help boost staffing at Circle, which today employs more than 200 employees globally in locations including Boston, San Francisco, Dublin, London, Paris, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing and Shenzhen.

A new twist on stablecoins

But while Circle's funding round and valuation are likely to grab a majority of headlines, it's perhaps its launch of a US dollar cryptocurrency initiative with participation from Bitmain that may most impact the crypto market.

As noted by Allaire, the play is a strategic one that finds Circle taking aim at one of the most important elements of the crypto economy.

"It's a big piece, as we acquired Poloniex and Poloniex was a crypto-only exchange," Allaire explained. "The way people have handled fiat on an exchange like that has been through something like Tether, and we see a lot of weaknesses and challenges with Tether."

Indeed, Allaire isn't alone, as many commentators have sought to position Tether as a systemic weakness that, through its affiliation with the troubled exchange provider Bitfinex, a company that has struggled with regulatory issues, threatens the integrity of the market.

Yet, it's important to note that Circle will be seeking to take an open approach to its USD-C token, framing it as an open-source project with a more robust governance model.

The vision is that regulated financial institutions, whether they're a crypto exchange or a money transmitter, would be authorized by CENTRE to become issuers of stablecoins, and that many issuers could offer and manage different fiat-backed cryptocurrencies.

"Circle can be an issuer of US dollar coin, Square could be an issuer. If I got US dollar coins from Circle, I could transmit those to another digital wallet for an issuer," he explained.

A foundation for payments

But if all the conversation about exchanges and crypto-plumbing lead to perceptions that Circle is straying from its more consumer-focused products, Allaire was quick to push back.

Rather, Allaire suggested that bolstering the exchange and fiat cryptocurrency ecosystems globally only strengthens products like its original mobile money application, enabling that product to work more effectively at scale in accordance with its original vision.

"To realize the vision for ubiquitous payments, we need there to be currencies that can be stored, settled and used," Allaire continued.

With the funding, the company is also publishing a new white paper on its stablecoin work, as well as an FAQ that will seek to educate others on they can engage in this new market Circle hopes to steward.

Of note in these materials is that all USD-C tokens will be issued on ethereum, a notable detail given the platform's issues in scaling to support its current diversity of users. (The company said more announcements on the project are expected this summer).

Still, the overall message was that this is an effort to bring an opaque offshore market back into the regulated cryptocurrency economy, as Allaire said CENTRE will require members to undergo compliance and balance sheet audits to ensure assets are properly backed.

In this way, Allaire summed up his message succinctly, dismissing existing market alternatives as nothing more than clever "regulatory hacks."

He concluded:

"The CENTRE model is out in the open in a regulated context with real banking connectivity and that's really based on an open standard."


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