Circle, the payments startup which has created the USDC stablecoin, announced its intentions to roll out business accounts and sell SeedInvest, the crowdfunding platform it bought a year ago, and focus its remaining assets on developing stablecoin products, according to Jeremy Allaire, one of Circle’s co-founders and its remaining CEO.
The company will roll out new APIs and Circle Business Accounts as part of this process, which can be used by corporate clients to conduct business in USDC, a token on the Ethereum blockchain designed to hold its value against the US dollar.
Circle’s revenue streams are multiple, Allaire said last month in an interview. Since last summer, however, to maximize its research and development wings, its focus has been on new products centered around the USDC token, which Circle questions. Circle is also part of Coinbase’s CENTRE Consortium, which Allaire said has created standards around stablecoin issuance.
In recent months, however, Circle’s story has been what it’s lost. Circle has sold Poloniex in the past year, the crypto exchange it acquired in 2018; shuttered Circle Pay, its longstanding payment app; sold Circle Invest to the Voyager brokerage firm; sold its Circle Trade over – the-counter desk to Kraken; and is now looking to sell SeedInvest.
SeedInvest no Longer Fits in with Core Business for Circle
SeedInvest no longer fits in with what Allaire sees as the core business for Circle, he explained. The firm’s “strategic rationale for acquiring” centered around Circle’s business of trading.
“We were excited about this idea of tokenization and having tokens that were issued connected to all kinds of assets,” he said. “We exited the exchange business … so the need for that set of licensing just doesn’t exist anymore. The second thing is this whole kind of tokenization, having regulated broker-dealers and tokenized securities, that’s been slow-rolled” by cautious regulators.
Allaire said that, as of January 2020 the company has seen its headcount shrink similarly, falling from a peak of 300 employees to about 125.
Part of the reduction comes from employees moving as they were being sold with their different departments.
“We had about 100 people who went with these different spinouts … [it was] a natural way for people to go with those businesses and product lines,” Allaire said.