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.

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“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.”

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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