Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bitcoin Raises $50 Million

Circle, a company that lets users easily send and receive bitcoins, has raised a $50 million funding round led by Goldman Sachs and China’s IDG Capital Partners. Launched in October 2013, Circle had two funding rounds prior to this one — $9 million at time of launch and another $17 million in March 2014. This latest round of funding brings Circle’s total raise to date to $76 million. According to the Wall Street Journal, the round brings the company valuation to around $200 million.

Circle founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire (former CEO of Brightcove, which navigated that company through an IPO in 2012) wrote that the company “could not be happier” with the new investors, and it’s easy to see why. With Bitcoin exchanges failing left and right in the last year or so, sometimes under suspicious circumstances, a banking giant such as Goldman can bring a Bitcoin startup stability and confidence.

Even though Bitcoin exchange Buttercoin was shut down in April due to lack of interest from investors, 2015 has been kind to several Bitcoin startups. Bitcoin trading platform Coinbase raised $75 million in January (with one investor being the New York Stock Exchange), and the Winklevoss twins launched another Bitcoin exchange called Gemini, also in January.

Circle also announced a new feature Wednesday — the ability for users to hold, send, and receive U.S. dollars as well as bitcoins. The new feature is rolling out “selectively” for customers with dollar accounts; Circle plans to open it to more users on a weekly basis until it becomes available for all.