Fintech startup Circle’s Coinbase-like cryptocurrency investing app “Circle Invest” has entered a closed beta.
It’s not clear exactly when the Circle Invest beta opened, but users began reporting that they had received invitations on March 6. I received my invitation the next day, at which time Google Play indicated that roughly 100 users had downloaded the Android version of the app.
Circle Invest provides retail investors with access to Circle Trade, the company’s institutional trading desk. The platform does not charge commission, instead skimming its revenue from the spread between the buy and sell price, which Circle says will average one percent depending on market conditions.
The app has a simple interface that features overall portfolio tracking as well as modules for each individual cryptocurrency.
At present, the app supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Notably absent is Ripple’s XRP token, which is featured in images advertising Circle Invest but is not currently available in the app’s beta version.
Circle advertises that users will have instant access to their funds (up to $10,000 per week), and they can invest with as little as $1. However, users who abuse the system by making purchases with insufficient funds in their linked bank accounts will lose the ability to make instant buys.
Users are unable to make cryptocurrency deposits during this phase of the beta, but the company says deposits will be added in the future. The app is also currently only available to US customers, though several states are excluded due to their money transmitter regulations.
Unfortunately, I was unable to test the app’s core functionality, as a bug caused the app to crash when I attempted to register an account. This may be because my mobile device is several generations old, but in any case, I expect it to be addressed in a later update.
Circle has not yet revealed a specific target date for the app’s production release, but it has said in the past it expects Circle Invest to go live in 2018. When it does, it will join a growing list of competitors to Coinbase, the dominant force in the US cryptocurrency brokerage market.
As CCN reported, fintech darlings Square and Robinhood have recently begun adding support for cryptocurrency trading. Square Cash’s US customers can buy and sell Bitcoin through its mobile app, while Robinhood has rolled out Bitcoin and Ethereum trading to users in five states.
However, of the three, Circle Invest is the app which most closely mirrors Coinbase eponymous brokerage app, and — owing to its former life as a Bitcoin exchange, its profitable trading desk, and its recent acquisition of cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex — it is also the firm with the deepest roots in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
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