Update – the best way I found to explain Circle is – “Circle is the first bank that fully integrates Bitcoin. They’re not quite an official bank yet, but they’re probablly going down that ‘upgrade path’.”
Circle.com is one of the most talked about Bitcoin startups, that were in stealth until yesterday. They raised 20-30 million USD in the last year, and now we finally know what they do:
Circle provides a Bitcoin wallet that:
- Has a beautiful, clean interface
- Is automatically secured with multisig, cold storage and 2-factor auth
- Is insured
- Has zero fees
- Is linked to credit cards for deposits and withdrawals
- And … is actually denominated in USD, not BTC.
Circle is positioning itself as sort of a cross between Coinbase and PayPal, more like the latter than the former. Your balance is always maintained in USD, and that is only converted to Bitcoin when it leaves the system. It’s Bitcoin without the volatility and security problems, pure and simple. The USD denomination is key – it is not a real Bitcoin wallet, because you cannot use that to speculate on Bitcoin price – if you deposit $100 worth of bitcoins into Circle, you will always have $100 there, regardless of any fluctuations on the Bitcoin price. I am excited to see their bold vision, and am looking forward to seeing the interplay between it and the Bitcoin ecosystem on the one hand, and the traditional players like PayPal on the other.
If you want to learn more, check out this 9 minute video by their CEO.