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Circle CEO Accepts Justin Sun’s Invitation to Warren Buffett Lunch

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire will be one of seven people Tron’s Justin Sun will take to the power lunch with Warren Buffett.

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire will attend the crypto power lunch alongside Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Tron CEO Justin Sun and Litecoin creator Charlie Lee.

On July 19, Allaire accepted Sun’s invitation on Twitter to join the much-anticipated $4.6 million lunch with the well-known Bitcoin (BTC) skeptic to discuss issues in crypto industry.

In just three minutes after Sun posted the invitation, Allaire tweeted that he is honored to join, adding that the meeting would be a great chance for both Buffett and crypto community representatives to learn from each other.

First announced in early June, after the Tron CEO won an eBay charity auction, the lunch is expected to be held on July 25 at Quince, a three-Michelin starred restaurant in San Francisco.

Allaire will be one of seven friends that can accompany Sun in his lunch with Buffett. As such, Sun noted that he will be announcing the rest of his entourage within the next 7 days.

In mid-June, Litecoin (LTC) creator Charlie Lee became the first guest to join Sun’s lunch with Buffett.

Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Goldman Sachs-backed payments company Circle, has recently expressed hope that Facebook’s crypto project Libra will trigger the development of the national approach to policies regarding digital assets. Previously, Allaire urged that crypto space needs regulatory certainty, adding that the existing definition of cryptocurrency is too broad.

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Crypto Payment Platforms Offer Working Examples — Competition Heats Up

A new deposit functionality has been rolled out following news of a Bakkt payment app and Coinbase Card’s expansion into six European nations…

Once seen by the mainstream zeitgeist as a fringe technology destined to languish on the outskirts of society, cryptocurrency today is alluring many leaders of the fintech sector by offering companies the prospect of being at the forefront of the largest financial revolution of the past century.

With mainstream society increasingly accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a means of payment, financial firms are increasingly seeking to offer a frictionless and convenient means for consumers to make payments using crypto.  

Square introduces BTC deposits

On June 26, San Francisco-based mobile payments provider Square announced that users of the company’s Cash App can now receive bitcoin from external wallets. However, Cash App users are restricted from receiving more than $10,000 worth of BTC deposits within a seven day period.

While most Cash App users have been able to purchase or sell Bitcoin since February 2018, a functionality facilitating payments between friends and family has been notably absent, given that such has long-comprised a major value proposition underpinning the app’s fiat utility.

News of the deposit functionality was a poorly kept secret, with crypto Twitter pundit Dennis Parker announcing that Cash App had enabled BTC deposits on June 25, a week following a similar tweet from Marty Bent that also claimed the function was live. Thus, the competition for the crypto payments sector is beginning to heat up.

Platforms compete to corner crypto payments

The integration of deposit functionality reasserts Square as a major contender among the companies seeking to lead the burgeoning crypto payments sector. Revolut, a United Kingdom-based fintech startup, is offering a platform featuring payment processing services, commission-free stock brokerage and foreign currency exchange — and it announced that it had introduced cryptocurrency exchange services to its platform in December 2017. However, users are only able to transfer cryptocurrencies within the Revolut network and cannot receive deposits from external wallets.

On June 20, The Block reported that Bakkt had hired a former Google payments product strategist, Christ Petersen, to assist the company in rolling out an upcoming mobile digital asset wallet application. The app, dubbed Bakkt Pay by anonymous sources, is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

On June 11, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency payments firm, TenX, celebrated its fourth birthday by announcing it had become the first company funded through an initial coin offering (ICO) to receive an e-money license. The license was issued by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority, allowing the company to provide “electronic money institution” services across the European Economic Area (EEA). TenX plans to launch its prepaid Visa cards across the EEA during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Square seeks to expand presence in crypto sector

Square first announced that it was “exploring” allowing Cash App users to purchase or sell BTC  during November 2017 in response to customer demand. The announcement followed a trial of the functionality among select users, with a spokesperson stating:

“We’re always listening to our customers and we’ve found that they are interested in using the Cash App to buy Bitcoin. We’re exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash App customers.”

During March of this year, Jack Dorsey, the founder of Square and Twitter, revealed that Square was seeking to hire several full-time cryptocurrency engineers and a single designer to work on open-source contributions to the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as part of an initiative called Square Crypto. Recruits would report directly under Dorsey, with the option to receive remuneration in the form of BTC also available.

In an interview with The Next Web published on June 14, Dorsey discussed the progress of the Square Crypto venture, indicating that regulatory challenges were forcing the company to move slowly in its endeavors pertaining to cryptocurrency.

“An Internet company can launch something and it’s available around the world. Whereas with payments, you have to go to each market and pay attention to regulators. You need a partnership with a local bank. This is a very slow process in any new market.” 

Coinbase expands payment operations

On June 11, Coinbase announced that its Visa debit card had been made available to citizens from in Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands. The announcement also indicated that the company expects to make the Coinbase Card available to more jurisdictions in the coming months.

The Coinbase Card was launched in the U.K. during April 2019. The card’s app makes payments from the balance of a user’s Coinbase account, with Coinbase instantly converting the chosen cryptocurrency into fiat currency upon execution of the payment. Transactions incur a fee of 2.49% within European countries, however, using the card outside of Europe currently draws a 5.49% fee. U.K.-based payment processor PaySafe is the issuer of Coinbase’s cards.

According to unverifiable reports from May, Coinbase had entered into “advanced talks” to purchase pioneering cryptocurrency custody provider Xapo for approximately $50 million plus an earn-out. Xapo is estimated to hold more than $5.5 billion in assets under custody, with the company also offering an app that allows users to send BTC and fiat currencies to other Xapo users without incurring fees as well as facilitates payments to banks accounts in more than 30 countries. The report noted that Fidelity Digital Assets had also shown strong interest in purchasing Xapo.

Circle to sunset payment platform

On June 13, Circle announced that it will start winding down support for the company’s payment app during July, after five years of operations. At the time of the announcement, Circle Pay supported fee-free payments denominated in U.S. dollars, British pounds and euros, and was available to customers from the U.S., the U.K. and 27 other European countries.

The company attributed the decision to sunset the app to the emergence of stablecoins such as Circle’s USD Coin (USDC), describing fiat tokens as superior means of frictionlessly transferring fiat value between entities. By contrast, the company stated that Circle Pay “largely relied on interfacing with the traditional financial system and untokenized fiat currencies.” 

The announcement was published one month after Circle laid off 30 staff members, who then comprised 10% of its entire workforce. Circle’s CEO, Jeremy Allaire, attributed the downsizing to a response to market conditions and regulatory hurdles in the U.S.

Paxful partners with BitMart

In February 2019, peer-to-peer (P2P) Bitcoin marketplace Paxful announced a joint venture that saw Paxful integrated as a means of facilitating BTC payments on the global digital asset trading platform BitMart. 

The partnership will see BitMart users able to make payments using Paxful without being charged listing fees, while Paxful users will be provided the option to convert BTC into alternative cryptocurrencies using BitMart’s exchange. Both companies expect that the agreement will bolster liquidity on their respective exchange platforms.

At the time, Ray Youssef, the CEO and co-founder of Paxful, stated: “We’re excited to integrate with BitMart in efforts to bring more trading options to emerging markets. It has always been our mission to provide financial freedom worldwide and we see this as the next big step in the financial revolution.”

The founder and CEO of BitMart, Sheldon Xia, emphasized that the partnership will significantly expand the number of ways by which the exchange’s users can purchase BTC, stating: 

“With this partnership, investors will now have direct access to multiple payment approaches including bank transfers, gift cards, debit/credit cards, and cash deposits, lowering the barriers to entry for new adopters of digital currency investment.”

BitMart currently has a user base of more than 600,000 and a reported 24-hour volume of approximately $1.18 billion, while Paxful has hosted approximately $20 million worth of bitcoin trades on a weekly basis for the last 12 months.

Centralization vs. adoption

While the proliferation of cryptocurrency payment platforms is undoubtedly pushing the ecosystem toward mainstream adoption, popular payment apps could prove to be a centralizing force upon the crypto community as a handful of major companies compete for consumer loyalty.

However, the increasing presence of large financial corporations within the cryptocurrency economy may create pressure on lawmakers to provide clear guidelines pertaining to crypto, with the prevalence of an unclear or exclusionary regulatory apparatus comprising the primary barrier to a rapid and global expansion of the cryptocurrency payments industry.

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Circle CEO Hopes Libra’s Unique Needs Trigger Positive Regulation

Jeremy Allaire, CEO of payments company Circle, said that Facebook’s Libra will run in a closed-loop permission scheme, requiring a different regulatory approach.

Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of payments company Circle, said that Facebook’s Libra will run in a closed-loop permission scheme that has its own requirements for regulation during an interview with Bloomberg released on July 5.

During the interview, Allaire pointed out that there are different stablecoin implementations distinct in their regulatory approach. He explained:

“There’s a really key difference between stablecoins that run on kind of closed-loop permission schemes — which is how Libra is being proposed today, at least in its initial incarnation — versus stablecoins that can run on the public internet.”

Allaire also specified that the latter is the approach of USDCoin (USDC), the stablecoin jointly released by Circle and U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. He also noted that he hopes Libra will trigger the development of national policies concerning digital assets. He said:

“Our view is that, you know, crypto and blockchains represent sort of the fabric of the 21st-century economy, and there’s an opportunity to put in place policy that allows us to flourish on a massive scale in the same way that the internet flourished in the mid- to late-nineties and policy was really vital to enabling that.”

As Cointelegraph reported in May, Allaire already pointed out that the cryptocurrency space needs regulatory certainty and the current definition of cryptocurrency is too broad.

Allaire also said during the interview that he expects that mass adoption of non-sovereign store of value digital assets like bitcoin (BTC), but that he also foresees growth to happen in the adoption of stablecoins.

Allaire also recently debated Canadian businessman and TV personality Kevin O’Leary, who said that cryptocurrencies pose serious compliance challenges to the financial services industry.

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Circle CEO: Non-Fiat Monies Like Bitcoin (BTC) to Continue to See Growth

Allaire On Crypto Spring

Ever since Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets have begun to rebound, mainstream media has been all over the space once again, in a way somewhat reminiscent of 2017.

Yesterday, Jeremy Allaire, the chief executive of the Goldman Sachs-based Circle, joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box” panel to talk about the ongoing cryptocurrency spring, and why Bitcoin can continue to see continued growth with time.

Explaining what’s up with the recent Bitcoin rally past $11,000, Allaire asserts that investors across the board, especially institutional players, have come to a greater understanding of the space and have tried to accumulate due to growing fundamentals of cryptocurrency and blockchain.

But most importantly, he claims that investors have started to await the launch of “next generation blockchains” (Cosmos, Algorand, etc.), Libra, of course, being the latest and one of the most important.

On the matter of why he thinks the launch of these blockchains will aid Bitcoin, the chief executive noted that new platforms and digital assets will bring together the diverse ecosystem. Libra and other stablecoins, for instance, can act as a unit of account, whether that be for salary or tax purposes.

But from there, as a result of network effects, stablecoins acting as onramps, among other factors, non-sovereign monies, especially Bitcoin, will continue to become more and more important on the stage of global finance. As Allaire puts it:

“More people are going to see the value of a censorship-resistant, highly secure digital asset.”

Macroeconomic Backdrop Accentuating Need for Bitcoin & Gold

Indeed, the current macroeconomic backdrop is, in the eyes of many analysts, creating a need for Bitcoin right now. A need that may only grow rapidly with time.

  • Over the past month, Hong Kong has experienced massive protests. Hongkongers fear that an extradition bill recently proposed can be used to extract those critical of Beijing’s policies and send them to mainland Chinese courts, where they can then be tried and potentially face a harsher sentence than if they were to remain in Hong Kong. As a result, many have begun to move capital out of Hong Kong and begun to stop using fintech accessories. Bitcoin, of course, is very important in this fight for freedom. Case in point, Hong Kong crypto exchanges saw a premium last week, as LocalBitcoin’s HKD volume shot through the roof.
  • Recently, Italy’s deputy prime minister has proposed a tax on citizens’ savings. Per a report from Reuters, the regulator, Matteo Salvini, told a late-night television program that he had been informed the safety deposit boxes across the European nation hold assets worth hundreds of billions. As a result of this “substantially hidden money”, Salvini, who evidently is a powerful man in Italy, proposes a 15% tax on those that declare their deposit-box holdings. As prominent analyst Alex Krüger kindly puts it, “Italy could end up being the best thing to ever happen to bitcoin.”
  • But most importantly in this section, the Federal Reserve recently announced that it will be doubling-down on inflationary fiscal policy, with chairman Jerome Powell hinting that he will cute the Fed Funds rate. This is bullish for Bitcoin in the short term, as it incentivized investors to look to more risky assets. It also is bullish for Bitcoin in the long term, in that inflationary policies force investors to look for “harder monies”, namely something supply capped like BTC.
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

The post Circle CEO: Non-Fiat Monies Like Bitcoin (BTC) to Continue to See Growth appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Circle CEO: ‘Non-Sovereign’ Bitcoin and Cryptos Will See Continued Growth

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire believes non-sovereign cryptos such as bitcoin will see continued growth despite the emergence of assets such as Facebook’s Libra and stablecoins.

Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of payments company Circle, believes non-sovereign cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin (BTC) will continue to see growth despite the proliferation of new forms of digital assets such as Facebook’s Libra and stablecoins

During an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box on June 24, Allaire argued that the cryptocurrency landscape will not evolve in a “winner takes all” direction, but that a range of different digital assets with varying degrees of autonomy and regulation will become broadly used by individuals and investors alike.

Allaire made one prime distinction between different digital assets, pitting stablecoins and other asset-pegged cryptocurrencies — e.g. Libra or the dollar-pegged stablecoin USD coin —  against non-sovereign cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin:

“Individuals and institutions are going to have crypto finance accounts where they’re going to hold all these different assets and be able to send and receive all of them. It’s not going to be a winner takes all model.”

Allaire argued that for everyday payments, which people may need to denominate in their salaried currency, or for transactions such as taxes, fiat-pegged cryptocurrencies will continue to see increased adoption. Regulators and governments, he added, will — and are already — find ways to cement regulation of the issuers of such assets.

At the same time, however, Allaire said he believes that an increasing recognition of the value of having access to a censorship-resistant and highly secure digital asset such as bitcoin — a non-sovereign currency —  will ensure its continued growth.

Allaire also gave his perspective on the crypto market’s renewed bullish momentum, noting that back in December — when the market bottomed in the depths of crypto winter — we saw long-term conviction investors beginning to build significant positions in core digital assets.

This is now being boosted by rising fundamentals of cryptocurrencies’ technology, the emergence of retail and institutional platforms, and new regulatory frameworks taking shape, he claimed. 

Last but not least, he proposed that new blockchains such as Libra are being taken as indicators that crypto is becoming a mainstream phenomenon that is ultimately going to reach billions of people.

As reported, both disruptors and incumbents — decentralization advocates, government and central bank representatives alike — have expressed mixed views about the potential impact and design of Facebook’s newly-unveiled digital currency, Libra. 

Yesterday, a former economic adviser to United States President Donald Trump said he thought that the digital token would represent a challenge for central bankers and was on balance a good thing.

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Circle and Coinbase’s Centre Seeks to Form Consortium to Promote, Issue USDC

Centre consortium founders Coinbase and Circle open invitations to other institutions wishing to issue USD Coin.

Stablecoins have become rather frequently discussed in the news and social media over the past few weeks, especially with the news of the release of the Facebook-backed Libra coin. The current wave of stablecoin issuance could be attributed to the lack of liquidity in the cryptocurrency world. But even though the crypto market is now slowly recovering from a long bear trend, the ecosystem of stablecoins continues to expand even further. 

One of the most notable events in the stablecoin space was a recent announcement by Circle and Coinbase. After launching its own digital dollar — called USD Coin (USDC) — in September 2018, Circle (a Goldman Sachs-backed crypto startup) is now opening its doors to other institutions interested in issuing USD Coin. Circle partnered with crypto exchange and wallet company Coinbase to launch a consortium called Centre that will support and develop USD Coin.

What is the consortium about?

Centre is a membership-based framework and governance scheme with an overall aim of growing and developing the idea of digital money. The founders of the consortium aim to build a blockchain-based infrastructure that will enable fiat money to work over the open internet. At the moment, USD Coin is Centre’s first initiative.

Although Circle was the first to issue USDC, the stablecoin’s being listed on Coinbase’s platform on Oct.10, 2018 fueled the coin’s popularity in the crypto space. USDC is reportedly 100% backed by United States dollar reserves, and enables customers to tokenize dollars as USDC and redeem USDC for dollars. Therefore, the Centre consortium acts as a watchdog over the institutions issuing USDC to fiat conversions.

Now, Coinbase and Circle have jointly announced that membership in the Centre consortium is open to other entities looking to participate and own the right to issue or redeem USDC.

Why new members now?

Circle and Coinbase’s vision is to build interoperable protocols and standards for an open global financial system. To achieve this, the two companies are looking to collaborate and partner with other industry players. 

However, the opening of membership to the consortium comes at a time when Tether, the issuer of the most popular and eponymous stablecoin, is reportedly facing transparency issues. Although Tether enjoyed a first mover’s advantage in the stablecoin space, it has also had to deal with the many challenges that come with sustaining a stablecoin’s value.

Among the mistakes that Tether made at the start was the failure to secure a credible third-party auditor. Plus, compared to other blockchains, the Tether Omni protocol is much slower. In response, Tether has recently introduced an ER-C20 version of its stablecoin.

However, as a trailblazer of the stablecoin uprising, Tether has paved the way for other coin issuers and still proves to be useful in the crypto landscape. However, stablecoins like USDC represent the next generation of coins, which are designed to enhance transparency while enabling a user-friendly technology that will increase the speed of cross-border payments. 

By allowing new members to join, Centre is looking to use USDC to enable nearly instantaneous settlement across borders. Therefore, Centre is looking to partner with institutions that will contribute to the development of the Centre network

Centre also aims to achieve a greater level of interoperability that will enable USDC to function across multiple private and public chains. Centre claims that this will enable money to function like content and data on the internet.

According to Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, USDC will have a “huge difference from something like Tether.” Allaire also said:

“Market infrastructure like stablecoins will become the base layer that supports every financial application. It has to be legitimate, trustworthy and be built on open standards.”

Ultimately, bringing new members into the Centre consortium is set to enable better standardization for USDC issuers across the globe. The new USDC issuers will have to comply with Centre’s rulebook. Plus, Centre’s board of managers will provide guidelines for the safe investment of USDC to limit various risks. The move will also decentralize control of USD Coin, as the issuers will become part of the governing body. 

How institutions can join Centre

Institutions that want to join Centre and become issuers of USD Coin will have to agree with Centre’s operating rules. 

To begin with, the institutions must be “licensed and regulated to support electronic money services.” 

Member institutions will also have to comply with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) processes as well as Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) rules, as prescribed by Centre.

Custody of fiat reserves is also a requirement. These reserves are set to be audited by Centre on a monthly basis to ensure 100% USDC backing with fiat.

Only companies that meet the technological requirements of Centre’s protocol will be allowed membership in the consortium.

Why would a company want to join the consortium?

USDC was the first stablecoin to be issued on the Coinbase platform. Since then, the stablecoin has become popular mostly among traders who use it as a bridge between fiat and cryptocurrency positions. 

Although other exchanges such as Binance have also listed the coin on their exchange platforms, USDC users have only been able to redeem their tokens for fiat on Coinbase’s and Circle’s platforms. With this new opening, members will be able to redeem USDC for fiat as well.

USDC issuers will enjoy a level of autonomy such that they will be able to decide their own fee structures for redeeming USDC.

Centre members will also be able to build their own financial products on top of the USDC network. For example, a company will be able to build a lending platform using USDC. As part of the Centre consortium, members also get to play a vital role in determining the future development of the Centre network.

However, according to Gregory Klumov, the CEO and founder of stablecoin platform Stasis, few companies are likely to be interested in joining the consortium. He explained to Cointelegraph: 

“Right now, everyone wants to develop their own stablecoin. Last year there were around 150 projects announced. Look at JP Morgan, and other banks like Silvergate and Signature Bank, which all have their own Ethereum-based coins. As long as they think they can gain market share on their own, they’re unlikely to join a consortium. There’s also the huge issue of regulatory uncertainty — we still don’t know how US regulators will address stablecoins, or crypto in general, down the road.”

New members of the consortium

At the moment, no new issuers have been announced. However, there is potential for a huge level of interest in participation, considering the fact that over 100 exchanges support USDC. For example, Nexo, a decentralized lending company, allows its customers to earn compound interest on their USDC balances.

Other companies supporting USD Coin include Bitmain, Crypterium, Bitpanda, Nitrogen and Chainalysis. 

These companies, together with the exchange platforms listing USDC, are driving interest among institutions that want to become members of the Centre consortium.

The future of the consortium

With only a few months under its belt, USDC is among the fastest-growing stablecoins at the moment. So far, more than $470 million worth of USDC has been redeemed and over $795 million of USDC has been issued. Centre claims that USD Coin has been used to complete more than $11.1 billion worth of on-chain transfers.  

Going forward, Centre plans to grow its fiat token support beyond the U.S. dollar by building an infrastructure that will support new currencies on the Centre network. The plan is to continue in the research and development of smart contracts on the Centre network to enable more payment settlements using programmable money.

As of now, USD Coin is mostly being used by traders, but Centre has hinted at plans to create “a new global digital currency” made up of stablecoins backed by a variety of currencies.

However, some believe that scaling USD Coin will be the least challenging task that the Centre consortium will face. According to Klumov:

“The biggest challenge for stablecoin issuers is commoditization. When you have several stablecoins all pegged to the same currency, and they all hold their peg to more or less the same degree, then it’s difficult to find ways to differentiate yourself.”

What are the prospects?

Apart from Coinbase and Circle, other prominent names that have shown interest in stablecoins include the Winklevoss brothers, who have already launched their own dollar-backed stablecoin called Gemini. IBM has also partnered with Stellar in an effort to create a real-time, controlled global payment network. By introducing a level of compliance to AML and KYC practices, Centre and other organizations are enabling mainstream adoption of stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies for daily transactions.

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Royal Bank of Scotland Onboards Former Circle Exec to Head Fintech Project

The Royal Bank of Scotland has hired a CEO for its digital banking service Mettle, Marieke Flament — a former managing director at the crypto firm Circle.

The Roybal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has hired a former executive from cryptocurrency finance firm Circle, according to a report by the Financial Times on June 18.

Marieke Flament, who formerly worked as the European managing director of Circle, will reportedly join RBS as CEO of Mettle, its digital service for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Mettle has reportedly been operational since November 2018, and RBS is aiming to roll out a standalone version of the service in August. Flament commented on potential for financial disruption in the SME sector with Mettle, saying:

“There is a huge opportunity for disruption in SME digital banking. Insight and feedback garnered during the pilot stage have shown that we are in a very strong position to capitalize on this opportunity through Mettle.”

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the Royal Bank of Scotland joined a trial program in April that used blockchain tech to streamline real estate payments. The trial reportedly used a tool from startup Instant Property Network — based on R3’s open source platform Corda — to cut costs and offer more transparency in property acquisitions.

Executive John Stecher at Barclays, another major bank participating in the trial, commented on the current un-streamlined process of buying a house, saying:

“When a person wants to purchase a house, the process encompasses a whole host of different interactions with different businesses and governmental entities that can be uncomfortable and drawn out.”

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Circle to Close Its Payment App, Focus on New Financial Products

Peer-to-peer payments technology firm Circle is closing its payment app Circle Pay in view of developing new crypto financial services.

Peer-to-peer payments technology firm Circle is closing its payment app Circle Pay in order to develop new crypto financial services, according to an announcement published on June 13.

Per the blog post, Circle will start terminating the operation of Circle Pay, a fiat money sending service with a social messaging component, from July 8, 2019, and will fully close support for the app on Sep. 30. Specifically, on July 8 the app’s users will no longer be able to add or send money to anyone through their Circle Pay account.

Circle further hinted that it is delving into new blockchain-based financial products such as launching new wallet services and facilitating digital currency adoption through cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex.

In late May, Circle laid off 30% of its staff due to an “increasingly restrictive regulatory climate in the United States.” Announcing the firings, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire noted that “Circle remains strong and healthy, and we will continue to drive new product innovation and growth globally, working with jurisdictions that offer forward-looking policies regulating digital asset businesses, while we press for more balanced crypto policy in the U.S.”

It was also reported that Circle had purportedly lowered its March fundraising goal of $250 million by 40%, seeking thus to raise $150 million.

Allair had previously outlined that the cryptocurrency space needs regulatory certainty and the current definition of cryptocurrency is too broad. Allaire argued that existing laws cannot address the cryptocurrency issue:

“We urge lawmakers to recognize the unparalleled economic power that permissionless innovation has unleashed and to act to let crypto and blockchain technologies flourish. We know lawmakers want to support economic growth and want them to seize the opportunity to lead the charge.”

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Circle and Coinbase Invite More Members to Consortium Behind US Dollar Coin

Following Circle’s USD Coin launch in late 2018, the firm decided to expand its Centre consortium to more members.

Goldman Sachs-backed crypto startup Circle and crypto exchange and wallet service Coinbase are expanding their consortium behind USD coin (USDC), according to a blog post on June 13.

The Centre consortium acts as a platform for deposits and fiat conversions for Circle’s own cryptocurrency, a United States dollar-backed digital token.

Having launched USD coin back in September 2018, Circle has now announced that Centre is opening up for more members and industry participation. In the post, Centre wrote that Circle and Coinbase have been working to create and establish its Centre Network as a “membership-based framework and governance scheme.”

Inviting more participants to join its network, Centre wrote that the consortium membership provides institutions with the right to issue or redeem USD coin. In order to obtain this right, members must agree to Centre’s operating rules and issuer settlement as well as liability framework, the consortium noted.

Centre further specified that companies and institutions that want to issue stablecoins on the Centre network must follow a number of criteria, including possession of a license and regulatory and tech compliance, among other things.

In May, Circle released another third-party audit of USD coin, claiming that the company issued $293.1 million USDC as of April 30, 2019, with $293.3 million in the firm’s reserves. In the new blog post, Centre wrote that more than $795 million of USDC has been issued to date, while $470 million has been redeemed.

Yesterday, Coinbase launched its Visa debit card in six European countries, including Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands.