By Annebeth W, United Kingdom
Interview Marieke Flament, Managing Director, Circle Europe
Could you briefly describe what Circle’s main vision and mission is, please also include your different product offerings in this?
Circle is a crypto finance company that makes it possible for people everywhere to create and share value in a way that is affordable, open and empowering. Leveraging the power of blockchain technology and crypto assets, Circle is reimagining financial services by making it possible to send, receive and invest in assets seamlessly around the world.
As of today, Circle offers four products, described below:
Circle Pay:A social payment app that makes sending and receiving money as easy as texting or using email; whether across the table or across the ocean, payments are instant, secure and without fees. Circle Pay has millions of customers and is available in 29 countries with instant no-fee conversion between USD, GBP and EUR.
Circle Invest: An investment app that makes it easier than ever to invest in crypto, whether it is your very first time or your 100th. For as little as $1 customers are instantly able to invest in a broad mix of crypto assets through a simple, seamless, mobile experience. Recently launched in the U.S., Invest will be available in Europe in the coming months.
Poloniex: One of the world’s largest crypto exchanges that makes it possible for customers to transact in different digital assets around the world. Used by thousands of investors, Poloniex is available in over a hundred countries worldwide.
Circle Trade: One of the largest market makers of digital assets in the world, Circle Trade offers over-the-counter (OTC) trading services and liquidity to institutional investors. Circle Trade facilitates over $2 billion per month in crypto trading.
In addition to the above, Circle has recently announced the forthcoming development of USDC, a solution that enables customers to purchase and use USDC fiat tokens for payments and trading in the crypto ecosystem. USDC provides a full reserve US dollar-backed stablecoin and is based on the open source fiat stablecoin framework developed and governed by CENTRE, which will provide independent oversight of Circle’s offering. Circle will only be the first issuing member of the CENTRE network, and further tokenized fiat stablecoins may be issued by other audited, licensed, participating network members. More about CENTRE is available here:https://centre.io
Can you expand a bit on why you launched your stablecoin USDC and what you believe the future for stablecoins is?
Cryptocurrencies do not have to be as volatile they are at the moment. We believe that a price stable cryptocurrency is essential for the widespread adoption of blockchain technology and the maturation of smart contracts.
Circle USD Coin or USDC is a US dollar-backed stablecoin that means for every stablecoin there is one USD backing it. USDC, which is an initiative by Circle Internet Financial the US entity of Circle, isbuilt on the ERC20 standard, the ethereum blockchain, which is being developed by CENTRE.
Circle is the first issuing member of the CENTRE network, and Circle will mint USDC based on network rules set by CENTRE.
Ultimately, we want to get to a point where stablecoins are not only pegged to the dollar but to all large fiat currencies such as EUR, GBP, JPY, RMB as well. Being able to introduce a price stable cryptocurrency such as USDC allows for payments to be made globally, seamlessly and securely, using blockchain technology.
How do you think your recent Funding round of $110 million will help your company expand?
We are extremely pleased with our recent Funding round as it will help promote and further develop Circle’s various initiatives that support the company’s vision to change how people create and share value around the world.
Furthermore, having a big investor such as Bitmain onboard means we can build up a strategic partnership through which we can share both Circle’s and Bitmain’s vision and best practices around the creation of a new global economy that leverages open source blockchain technology.
Bitmain will predominantly be working with CENTRE to help introduce multiple fiat stablecoins across a variety of geo-currency zones, which aligns with our goal to ultimately have multiple stablecoins pegged to each fiat currency around the world.
If there is one key challenge to the cryptocurrency sector that is most pressing to Circle what would it be and how are you looking to address this?
We see the volatility of cryptocurrencies as one of the main challenges.
Whilst the invention of cryptographic assets and blockchain-based computing has really changed the way people make transactions, a price-stable medium of exchange and store of value is missing.
If we want the blockchain technology to be adopted by the mainstream and we want to create a more mature financial market based around the blockchain technology, we need more stability.
We believe that there is a real role to play for a price-stable currency, such as a token pegged to the US dollar, to create a more reliable and consistent global financial interoperability built on smart contract platforms, such as tokenized securities, loans, and property.
Furthermore, there has been a real lack of financial and operational transparency when it comes to existing fiat-backed approaches where some financial players operate in closed-loop ecosystems rather than open sourced platforms.
Circle USDC addresses these problems by providing detailed financial and operational transparency, by sharing quarterly audits and our reserves on USDC. Circle operates within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws and reinforced by established banking partners and auditors. Additionally, USDC will be operated by CENTRE, which is a completely open source framework with an open membership scheme that eligible Financial Institutions (FI) can participate in.
If we would to speak again in five years’ time what do you think would be the most significant change to the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector?
In five years’ time we may start to see what we call the “tokenisation of everything”, which means that people will be able to create and share their assets leveraging blockchain technology at any time, at any place. We will get to a point where all assets, physical or digital, can be put on the blockchain and held or traded on open marketplaces. So, blockchain will be the underlying technology supporting everyday consumer applications and services, accessible to everyone.
However, in order to get there the sector needs to continue to overcome the barriers, around volatility and transparency.