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Report: Bitcoin and blockchain startup Circle raising $250M ahead of possible IPO


Bitcoin and blockchain startup Circle Internet Financial Inc. is looking to raise an additional $250 million in funding ahead of possible initial public offering, according to a report published Saturday.

The Information claimed that the round will consist of equity and debt financing and will be used to expand its operations and product offerings. The decision to raise additional capital is reportedly to be part of a plan to gain further market share against Coinbase Inc. and other competitors before looking to go public later this year or in 2020.

In 2013, Circle initially started as a consumer finance company utilizing blockchain technology but has since evolved into cryptocurrency investment, exchange and payments service.

The company has four main products. Circle Pay is a registered money transmission service that allows users to send money to other users in various currencies, with cryptocurrency used as the transfer vehicle. Circle Trade is an over-the-counter cryptocurrency exchange for high-end trading with a minimum trade of $250,000. A service called Circle Invest allows people to invest in cryptocurrencies. Finally, crypto exchange Polinex, acquired by Circle in February 2018, allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrency as they please.

In recent times Circle has been expanding and its services and has ambitions to do even more. Circle entered the market for stablecoins — coins that are tied to a fixed asset, usually U.S. dollars — in September with the launch of the USD//Coin. Support for the stablecoin was later added by Coinbase, giving it even wider exposure. A report in June suggested that Circle was attempting to obtain a banking license in the U.S. to offer additional services to its users.

Circle had last raised $110 million in May and $60 million in June 2016. A rumored valuation as of its last round was $3 billion.

Previous investors include Bitmain, IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, Pantera, Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures.

Image: Circle

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