Circle makes pledge and Bermuda fintech launch
Fintech company Circle has pledged $100,000 towards the development of Bermuda as a “centre of excellence” for fintech innovation.
The announcement was made Thursday by Elisabeth Carpenter, chief operating officer of Circle, at a press conference at the Cabinet Office.
Ms Carpenter said Circle would work with the Bermuda Business Development Agency and Government’s fintech team to determine “the best way to direct the investment”.
The news came as 16 members of Circle’s senior executive team wrapped up a week of meetings in Bermuda.
Jeremy Allaire, Circle’s co-founder and CEO, chief strategy officer and head of global policy Dante Disparte, and Ms Carpenter joined David Burt, the Premier, and finance minister Curtis Dickinson to mark the launch of Circle Yield, which Mr Allaire described as the “first regulated crypto-yield product in the world”.
Mr Burt said the conference also recognised Circle “officially opening on our shores”.
Last month, Circle announced the high-yield product out of Bermuda, describing it as a “well-regulated alternative yield market for institutional investors and corporate treasurers domiciled in the United States and Switzerland”.
Mr Disparte said Bermuda has been added to the jurisdictions where the product will be available, adding that Circle Yield will be available in “many more jurisdictions over time”.
Circle held a reception on Wednesday evening to introduce the product to invited guests.
Mr Burt, who said he first met Mr Allaire at the Davos Economic Forum in 2019, said it was “a proud day for Bermuda and for Circle as they launch their internationally-recognised product from right here on the island”.
Mr Allaire said the introduction of Circle Yield was a “very significant milestone in the development of the entire industry”.
Mr Burt said: “So here we are two and a half years from the time Jeremy and I first met, Circle is here in Bermuda, their entire leadership team is here and the next steps on this productive journey can begin.
“This is a shining example of this Government's vision for Bermuda to be a country where companies like Circle can feel free to build the future of finance, feel free to create the technologies, and build the tools that will power innovation.”
The Premier added: “The work that we are doing here in Bermuda is steps ahead of many other countries and larger economies around the world, and we should be proud of our ability to innovate, and to diversify our economy while maintaining our reputation as a well-regulated jurisdiction to conduct international business.”
Ms Carpenter said Circle would “expand globally” now that Circle Yield has launched and would require staff to do so.
She said Circle had a “remote-first workforce” that considers “the internet as our headquarters”, but Mr Disparte said that Circle would be setting up a physical presence on the island, and the expectation is that local staff, once hired, will work out of the office.
Circle, which set up as an Irish limited company in 2013, also operates Circle International Bermuda Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the Irish parent.
The Bermudian operation was the first company to secure a full licence under Bermuda’s Digital Asset Business Act when it did so in July, 2019.
Circle is the principal operator of USDC stablecoin, one of the top ten largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation, and said to be the world’s fastest-growing dollar digital currency.
Circle’s website says the company helps internet businesses “accept payments and send payouts globally in one unified platform. Move digital money leveraging traditional payment rails or do business in a more global, scalable and efficient way through blockchain infrastructure. Circle seamlessly connects these worlds.”
Last week, Circle announced plans to go public in a merger with special purpose acquisition company, Concord Acquisition Corporation, in a deal that values Circle at $4.5 billion.
The transaction is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
Announcing the deal, Concord chairman Bob Diamond said: “Circle is the true pioneer of trusted digital currencies, an increasingly critical part of the global financial system.”
Mr Diamond called Circle “one of the most exciting companies in the transformation of finance”.
Under the terms of the agreement, a new Irish holding company will acquire both Concord and Circle and become a publicly-traded company, which is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
Mr Allaire said today (Thursday) the listing will be “a huge milestone for Circle and for the maturation of the industry”.
When the deal was announced, he said: “Circle was founded with a mission to transform the global economic system through the power of digital currencies and the open internet.
“We’ve made huge strides towards realising this vision, and through this strategic transaction and ultimate public debut, we are taking an even bigger step forward, with the capital and relationships needed to build a global-scale internet financial services company that can help businesses everywhere to connect into a more open, inclusive and effective global economic system.”