Bitmain, a multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency mining gear manufacturer, has led a $110 million Collection E funding round for Circle, the companies announced on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at Consensus in New York City.
Several other venture capital firms, including Breyer Capital, General Catalyst and Accel, joined the round, which now pushes the value of Boston-based Circle to $3 billion, from a reported $480 million in 2016, according to a statement by Circle.
Bitmain is also joining forces with Circle to create a so-called “stablecoin,” a cryptocurrency that is pegged to a stable asset. The goal is to eventually have lots of stable tokens, all backed by different fiat currencies, but the first will be Circle USD Coin (USDC), a coin backed one-to-one by the U.S. dollar with the fiat to be stored in an auditable bank account and redeemable by verified buyers.
The tokens will be based on Ethereum’s ERC20 standard and developed and governed by CENTRE, a foundation that will manage a collection of new, fiat-backed tokens. CENTRE is a wholly owned subsidiary of Circle, but Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire said that the foundation would become more independent as other members joined.