Blockchain Company Circle Raises $60 Million for Chinese Expansion

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A collection of technology and financial firms in China and the USA haVE made a $60 million investment to create a Chinese unit of Circle, a U.S.-based Bitcoin Blockchain-payments startup.

“We are still in the early days of this global transformation in value exchange, but the barriers and boundaries are slowly dropping away, replaced with open protocols (e.g., Blockchain), and improved user experiences (e.g., messaging and social payments). The coming years will be exciting, transformative and no doubt challenging. We’re taking the long view and trying to build something that can help integrate the global economy and global consumers in the same way that the the internet of information and communications has brought the world together,” stated Circle Co-Founders  Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville on their blog.

The list of the investors includes Baidu, the Chinese search giant; CICC Alpha, a growth-investing unit of the China International Capital Corp.; the private-equity arm of China EverBright Investment Management Ltd.; CreditEase, an online lender owned by Yirendai, a Chinese financial services firm traded in the U.S., and IDG Capital Partners leading the round.

“Circle’s powerful take on Blockchain-powered social payments has attracted leading financial institutions and consumer Internet companies in China who are throwing their support behind the company’s global vision for an open Internet of value exchange,” said Jim Breyer, Founder & CEO, Breyer Capital. “We are very happy to be part of the team and to support Circle in this next phase of growth and expansion.”

“Jim (Breyer) has been a long-time business partner and a great personal friend of IDG Capital,” said Hugo Shong, founding general partner of IDG Capital. “Working together with Breyer Capital, IDG is very bold on Circle’s vision of Blockchain and social payment. Just like the success of Alipay and WeChat pay here in China, we have full confidence in Circle team building global products which will be enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people daily.”

“Blockchain technology will play a critical role in transforming the global financial services industry,” said Mr. Joseph Liang, Chairman and CEO of CICC ALPHA. “Circle is an outstanding Blockchain technology startup with great vision and team to transform the consumer finance industry. We look forward to partnering with them to build a bright future together.”

“Circle is one of the most impressive startups in the Blockchain technology space” said Peter Fang, executive director of Baidu corporate development. “Together with other influential investors, Baidu is very excited to partner with Circle team to build its vision successfully and globally.”

“As an important Chinese partner and shareholder of Circle, we highly recognize the achievements Circle has made globally” said Dr. Feng Xiao, vice chairman and executive director of Wanxiang Holdings. “Circle is an outstanding Blockchain technology startup. We believe it will have a bright future in both China and in the world. We are looking forward to build a prominent presence in China with Circle.”

“CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund aims to identify global leaders in the financial technology industry. Digital mobile payments and Blockchain technology are at the forefront of FinTech innovation,” said CreditEase Founder and CEO Ning Tang. “We believe that Circle’s unique technology and compelling value proposition will help Circle achieve its vision to change the global economy.”

“We recognized Circle as a prominent venture in the Blockchain arena” said James Pan, member of CEL’s Management Decision Committee and CEO of EBA Investments. “Circle has its unique competitive edge in the consumer digital finance industry. It has gained the world’s first BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Supervision (NYDFS) and is the only digital currency company to receive E-Money Issuer License in the UK. As a leader in the cross-border asset management business, China Everbright Limited is always committed to Fintech innovation. We would like to see this investment as an important step for CEL’s entry into Blockchain and digital currency financial services sphere.”

 

Circle expressed its gratitude in the blog post: “These strategic partners are betting on Circle’s goal of creating an open, global model for social payments that enables consumers in China, the US and Europe to exchange value the same way we share content and communicate. We are thrilled to have these companies as partners in our global endeavors, and in our nascent expansion into China itself.”

About Richard Kastelein

Founder, Publisher and Editor in Chief of industry leading online publication, Blockchain News and co-founder and director at Blockchain Partners in London/Amsterdam/NYC. Kastelein is also an advisor with a number Blockchain startups doing ICOs including Humaniq.co where hs is interim CMO, DECENT.ch, Inchain, Chronobank, eGaas and others. He is regarded as one of the top journalists by the Blockchain and fintech communities – as is evident by his entry in the Top 150 Fintech journalists online and in the top 10 of the Blockchain Top 100 List.

As a prominent keynote presenter, he has spoken on Blockchain at events in Gdansk, Amsterdam, Minsk, Dubai, Antwerp, Eindhoven, Bucharest, Nairobi, Tel Aviv, Manchester, Brussels, Barcelona etc, where he helped spread the cause for Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency and, consequently, has built a notable network in the scene.

He’s also a director of a Dutch foundation called The Hackitarians and has run innovation events in London, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam and other cities around the world on topics such Blockchain, Health, Energy, Internet of Things, AI etc.

In 2013, the European Commission appointed him as an expert for overseeing financing for emerging startups as a part of the European Commission’s 90 billion euro Horizon 2020 project, created in Brussels to promote innovation as a driving force of job creation and business ventures across Europe. He has also worked as an external expert for Innovate UK since 2012, judging startups for the UK government.

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