“We’re more than a payment app. We’re on a mission to change the global economy.”
You may have not been familiar with Circle, but this week they have the cryptocurrency world buzzing with the news that they have just acquired Poloniex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Fortune magazine has reported that according to a source familiar with the acquisition, the deal was worth $400 million.
This Boston-based blockchain startup has only been around for 5 years, but their revenue between November and January this year exceeded $250 million, indicating that their annual revenue could top $1 billion. And with this latest purchase of Poloniex, Circle now has the potential to challenge Coinbase, the biggest cryptocurrency exchange in the US.
Up until now, Circle’s main focus has been on two core products. Circle Trade and the Circle Pay app.Circle Trade is marketed as “one of the largest liquidity providers of digital assets and cryptocurrency in the world”, and is focused on providing institutions and investors with crypto asset liquidity. With a minimum of investment of $250,000, the Circle Trade desk processes more than $2 billion in deals per month with around 70 different digital assets traded. Some of these deals apparently have run as high as $200 million.
The Circle Pay app is an app-based peer-to-peer payment network using blockchain technology. This app allows you to pay anyone with no fees whatsoever – “the rate you see on Google is the rate you get”. Users can then cash out to their debit cards for free. In order to achieve these fast transfers and competitive exchange rates, it converts your fiat into bitcoin before transmitting it.
Their investment into Poloniex is taking Circle one step closer to becoming a further leader in the crypto asset market. They have explained how their investment into Poloniex is addressing another “key element” of their product foundation: “An open global token marketplace.”
Their first move with Poloniex will be to “address customer support and scale risk, compliance, and technical operations to bolster the existing product and platform”. Like many of the exchanges over the past few months, Poloniex has been overwhelmed by growth; so addressing the platform’s customer support so that they will no longer have to wait significant lengths of time for account verifications, or assistance with their issues, is one of Circle’s priorities.
They then plan on focusing on “scaling Poloniex up” by listing additional tokens, localizing the platform, expanding into new markets and potentially exploring integrating with the fiat capabilities that their Circle Pay and Trade products offer.
For any users of Poloniex, this is exciting news. For the general cryptocurrency market it is encouraging that Goldman Sachs, partially owned by Bitcoin skeptic Warren Buffett, has ownership in a company that has just purchased one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. After Buffett’s comment on cryptocurrencies, “I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending”, this investment seems to contradict his stance. Perhaps, like Jamie Dimon, in consideration of this $400 million dollar deal, he may change his mind about cryptocurrencies yet.