For many months now, Bitcoiners have been wondering exactly what services Circle would offer to the fledging Digital Currency community. Since 2013, Circle has been notoriously tight-lipped on the specifics of its operation. Some in the community even went as far as to compare Circle to vaporware. Today, all the speculation is laid to rest. Early 5/16/14, CircleCEO Jeremy Allaire took to Circle's blog to reveal "What We Have Been Up to at Circle." Circle launches its product today to increase the utility value of Bitcoin by reducing friction. Circle is the first worldwide Bitcoin Bank with insured deposits that cost 0% in fees thanks to the technological advancements represented by Bitcoin.
[dropcap size=small]F[/dropcap]rom their website:
Circle is a consumer finance company focused on transforming the world economy with secure, simple, and less costly technology for storing and using money.
Circle was first revealed on 10/30/13 by CEO Jeremy Allaire. At the time, he only referred to it as a "digital currency company building products that offer greater ease-of-use in online and in-person payments, enhanced security and privacy for consumers, and lower costs for businesses accepting digital payments." Initially, Circle started off with $9 million USD in Series A funding from venture capitalists such as Jim Breyer of Accel Partners and General Catalyst Partners. General Catalyst Partners' Jim Breyer and David Orfao joined Circle's board of directors. Over the next several months, Circle quietly recruited high-value individuals in the industry to become Board Members. In March, Circle announced the end of their second round of funding: $17 million USD in Series B funding from existing and new investors. The total amount of money raised by Circle to bring to bear in its debut so far is $26 million USD. Less than a month ago, at the MIT Bitcoin Expo, Circle hinted more about their soon to be released product, which was already in beta for a small group of testers. Needles to say, Coinbase isn't the only kid on the block anymore.
Circle users will not be charged fees for deposits, withdrawals, storage, or even theft insurance. Circle also provides phone support to provide person to person communication for customers when they inevitably run into problems. Unlike the traditional "bank" which we are familiar with, Circle has committed too maintaining 100% reserves as is required of regulated Money Transmitters in the United States. Also, Circle will enforce rigorous password policies and two-factor authentication as well as multiple-signature transactions. Circle will also be fully compliant with US regulations. As a result, Circle will comply with all KYC/AML laws that govern banks. Circle customers will need to go through identity verification before their account can hold Bitcoin. Circle will report suspicious activity to law enforcement in abidance of Anti-Money Laundering laws and will require different tiers of verification depending on many of Circle's features you wish to access with your account. Some users will only use Circle to store their Bitcoin; on the other hand, others will wish to hook up their Credit Card or bank account to Circle in order to buy or sell bitcoins.
Circle At Bitcoin 2014
Circle will undoubtedly be a hot topic at the Bitcoin 2014 convention which is currently going on in Amsterdam. On Friday, 5/16/14, Jeremy Allaire will be giving a speech about "Bitcoin's Mainstream Moment" at 11:30 am. At the same time, John Beccia will be presenting on "A Regulatory Roadmap for Widespread Adoption of Digital Currency." The hundreds of Bitcoiners in attendance will be talking about Circle and listening to Circle presenters.
In response to Coinbase's $10 Bitcoin giveaway to University students around the world, Circle is giving $10 in Bitcoin to all new Circle members, student or not. With all these large giveaways happening, now is the perfect time to introduce your someone to Bitcoin.