Cryptocurrency startup Circle Internet Financial has raised $110 million in venture capital to build out what its founders hope will finally be the internet of value.
Led by Beijing-based Bitcoin hardware provider Bitmain, the round of investment is the largest venture capital round ever raised by a cryptocurrency or blockchain company, eclipsing banking consortium R3, that last year raised a $107 million round.
But what is perhaps of even greater note than the investment itself is how the company is planning to spend that money. Also revealed today, the Boston-based company that had previously raised $136 million is launching the US Dollar Coin, a cryptocurrency that uses the Ethereum blockchain and is intended to be backed by actual US dollar.
To help bring Circle’s vision for a global fiat currencies being run on a blockchain Circle also announced that Bitmain, which reportedly generated as much as $4 billion in operating profit last year will be joining Centre, an open protocol being created to connect the world’s fiat currencies on a blockchain.
“We’re trying to build the equivalent of Amazon,” said Circle co-founder Sean Neville, in an on-the-record dinner last night. "While we’re also building HTTP," considered part of the foundation of the Internet.
The building blocks of the seemingly massive endeavor are in the investment itself. Existing investors, IDG Capital, Breyer Capital, General Catalyst, Accel, Digital Currency Group, and Pantera, all returned for this round, with new investors Blockchain Capital and Tusk Ventures also joining.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Circle co-founder, chairman, and CEO, Jeremy Allaire said the company value was “approaching” $3 billion, a number a representative of the company separately confirmed.