Financial Giant BlackRock Becomes 'Strategic Investor' in USDC Issuer Circle
The global fintech firm Circle has entered into an agreement for a new USD 400m funding round with participation from several major players from traditional finance, while making asset management giant BlackRock, Inc. a “strategic investor” in the company.
The funding round, announced by Circle on Tuesday, saw participation from BlackRock, Fidelity Management and Research, London-based hedge fund Marshall Wace LLP, and the FinTech-focused investment firm Fin Capital.
The funding round is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, the announcement said.
Circle is a global fintech firm focused on enabling payments, commerce, and other financial applications using digital currencies. The firm is the issuer of the second-most popular stablecoin, USD coin (USDC).
According to the announcement, BlackRock has also entered into a broad strategic partnership with Circle that goes beyond its existing role as the primary asset manager of USDC cash reserves.
The new role will include “exploring capital market applications for USDC,” Circle’s announcement said.
"Dollar digital currencies like USDC are fueling a global economic transformation,” said Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle. He added that it is "particularly gratifying to add BlackRock as a strategic investor in the company,” and said that Circle looks forward to developing the new partnership.
Commenting on Twitter shortly after, Allaire said the Circle and BlackRock together will explore “new ways that USDC can be adopted in TradFi capital markets applications.”
“Through this partnership, I've gotten a chance to get to know the executive leadership at BlackRock, and feel that the whole team is focused on the ways that frictionless value exchange can increase global economic prosperity,” he followed up by saying.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported today that BlackRock’s CEO Rob Goldstein said in a note to employees that digital assets and blockchain technology would become “increasingly relevant” for the firm and its clients.
Writing on Twitter today, Circle’s Chief Strategy Officer, Dante Disparte, on his end called the news “a major milestone on the way to institutional adoption.”
Separately, Centre, the consortium founded by Circle and Coinbase, announced that Linda Jeng, will join Centre as Chief Policy and Regulatory Officer, while Danielle Harold will serve as Chief Operations Officer. Recently, Jeng served as Global Head of Policy and Special Counsel at fintech startup Transparent Financial Systems, while Harold comes to Centre from Diem Association, where she served as Head of Business and Payments Operations.
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(Updated at 14:51 UTC with a new last paragraph.)