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Bitcoin Startup Circle Raises $60 Million for China Expansion

Circle, the bitcoin blockchain-centric peer-to-peer payments firm, has raised $60 million in a new funding run from investors in China and has revealed the formation of ‘Circle China,’ based out of Beijing.

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Blockchain-based payments company Circle has announced a new series round of funding which sees $60 million raised from what the company calls a “syndicate of major Chinese strategic investors.”

Led by Beijing-based venture capital firm IDG Capital Partners, the funding round includes global venture capital and private equity firm Breyer Capital. The two firms have notably partnered in the past, backing entrepreneurial endeavors in China and the United States.

Alongside its investors, Circle also revealed several partnerships in China with the likes of Baidu, a major web services company and popular search engine in China. Other partners include financial services firm China Everbright Limited, CICC ALPHA, Wamnxiang, and CreditEase.

Two notable individuals have also invested in the company through the funding round: former IBM CEO and Chairman Sam Palmisano and prominent private equity investor and co-founder of private equity firm SilverLake, Glenn Hutchins.

These strategic partners are betting on Circle’s goal of creating an open, global model for social payments that enables consumers in China, the US and Europe to exchange value the same way we share and communicate,” read the announcement from Circle.

A Global P2P Platform Based on the Bitcoin Blockchain

Unlike remittance services, Circle global expansion is an effort that hopes to facilitate the exchange of value between users. The company sees Chinese consumers having a significant part to play in the global economy in the coming years.

It has deemed China’s local currency, the Renminbi, to become a “much more important currency in the world.” With this in mind, the blockchain-based startup has revealed details about Circle China, a company it established six months ago.

An independent company all by itself, Circle China is looking to enable blockchain-powered payments to Chinese consumers. While no commercial services exist currently, Circle confirmed that its products will adhere to the laws and regulations of the Chinese banking industry.

It is also notable that lead investor IDG Capital has previously backed tremendously successful payment ventures such as Alipay and WeChat pay in China.

Furthermore, Circle will launch support to consumers in Spain as a part of its expansion in the continent as Circle Euro.

Circle has the distinction of being the first bitcoin- and blockchain-based firm to acquire the much-debated BitLicense in New York. The company is also the first ever bitcoin company to be granted an electronic money license by the Financial Conduct Authority, Britain’s primary financial regulator.

With it, Circle enabled customers in the UK and the US to swap sterling and dollars back and forth instantly, for free. Circle CEO Allaire hinted at support for Asian currencies. The Euro, he said, will be added to the list of the company’s supported currencies in the “coming months.”

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