The idea is that coin users should be able to go to the source, in this case Circle, and redeem U.S. dollars for their coins at any time.
China-based Bitmain is one of the world's largest cryptocurrency mining companies and a leading manufacturer of the high-powered computer servers used for mining cryptocurrencies. But with USD Coin, Circle says it aims to address some of the weaknesses of existing fiat-backed cryptocurrencies by "providing detailed financial and operational transparency, operating within the regulated framework of USA money transmission laws", and working with banks and auditors.
Bitmain is investing $110M in the development of the CENTRE platform and its USDC project as well as series E strategic investment in Circle. Circle has now introduced a new stablecoin called USD Coin whose value at any given point in time will be fixed and equal to one U.S Dollar. USD Coin notably provides a full reserve United States dollar-backed stablecoin, and is based on the open source fiat stablecoin framework developed and governed by CENTRE, which will provide independent oversight of Circle's offering. The valuation on the round was not officially revealed, but Coinbase reported the new round was raised on a $3 billion valuation, making Circle the second blockchain-focused startup to obtain "unicorn" status after Coinbase Inc.
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According to Circle, Bitman will also be joining CENTRE's efforts to implement numerous fiat-backed stablecoins that aim to provide financial interoperability around the world.
Circle says that USDC will be particularly useful for cryptocurrency traders to hedge quickly out of trading positions by converting their assets to USDC, which will be stable because of its backing by a fiat currency.
With this investment - which follows previous rounds involving Goldman Sachs, General Catalyst, and Accel Partners - the Boston company jumped to a massive valuation of around Dollars 3 billion, instantly making it one of the most valuable crypto companies in the world.
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The other investors who are funding the project include IDG Capital, Accel Partners, Digital Curency Group, Pantera Capital, Blockchain Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst and Tusk Ventures. We are excited to be working directly with Bitmain on realizing our shared vision.
Former investor Goldman Sachs was not part of the latest round.
"Circle can be an issuer of United States dollar coin, Square (a payments company) could be an issuer". It forms the backbone of Circle's blockchain payments network CENTRE, and will be available to trade on any exchange that accepts it, starting with Circle-acquired Poloniex.
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Existing fiat-backed approaches have lacked financial and operational transparency, have operated in unregulated jurisdictions with unknown banking and audit partners, and have been built as closed-loop ecosystems and closed proprietary technologies.