Bye-bye USD Tether? Circle Partners with Bitmain to Issue USD Coin

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Fintech giant Circle is launching a new cryptocurrency pegged against the United States dollar reserves.

The Boston-based fintech company Circle, which has 7 million users, closed a funding round for $110 million led by bitcoin miner and designer of ASIC chips Bitmain, Bloomberg reports.

This week's moves further reflect Circle's on-again, off-again enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies - or at least, their overt endorsement of them in public. But with USD Coin, Circle says it aims to address some of the weaknesses of existing fiat-backed cryptocurrencies by "providing detailed financial and operational transparency, operating within the regulated framework of US money transmission laws", and working with banks and auditors.

With this investment - which follows previous rounds involving Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst, and Accel Partners - the Boston company jumped to a massive valuation of around Dollars 3 billion, instantly making it one of the most valuable crypto companies in the world.

Circle also said that tokenized U.S. dollar coins were now available on its platform, made possible by developments in the CENTRE open source framework and by a new partnership with Bitmain. We are excited to be working directly with Bitmain on realizing our shared vision.

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Circle uses the blockchain technology that underpins bitcoin to operate an app-based peer-to-peer payment network, and is one of the leading players in the over-the-counter market for bitcoin trading.

The mining company is said to be a key supporter of CENTRE and USDC and is leading the strategic investment round in Circle. Although Tether has assured the public that its dollar tokens are backed by dollars in the bank, the company has never released an audit. However, because of some of the previous actions by Bitfinex and Tether, some in the crypto-community are still skeptical of fiat-backed 'stablecoins'.

The company said the latest investment raises its valuation to about $3 billion, from a reported $480 million in 2016.

Earlier, Poloniex was using the USDT token by Tether, however, after a lot of questions being raised about the suspicious operations of Tether in the recent past, Circle made a decision to have its own stablecoin.

Further, Circle claims they would be open to detailed and transparent financial & operational audits since they operate within the regulated framework of United States money transmission laws. It is built on an open source framework with an open membership scheme that eligible Financial Institutions (FI) can participate in (CENTRE). Initially announced late past year, CENTRE would allow both cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies to be transferred in a digital form, that will be based on Ethereum blockchain with its own ERC-20 token.

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