Crypto Startup Circle to Go Public Through SPAC

"We think that becoming a public company really sets us up to be a trusted platform in the digital currency industry."
Matthew HellerJuly 9, 2021

Payments and digital currency startup Circle has announced it will go public through a merger with a SPAC, giving investors another opportunity to invest in the crypto space.

Circle will merge with Concord Acquisition Corp., which is backed by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, with the combined entity being acquired by a new Irish holding company that will trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

The deal would value Circle at $4.5 billion.

“We just see an incredible opportunity to grow rapidly and grow around the world, and we think that this set of transactions and becoming a public company really sets us up to be a trusted platform in this digital currency industry,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire told CNBC.

Circle’s announcement comes three months after crypto exchange Coinbase went public in what was seen as the biggest step yet toward wider acceptance of digital currencies. Coinbase shares have declined more than 25% from their market debut, reflecting in part the falling price of Bitcoin.

“The digital currency space has witnessed a soured investor sentiment in recent months after an initial euphoria that took it to record highs earlier this year,” according to Reuters.

Created in 2013, Circle set out to create a mainstream bitcoin payment platform but is now focused on its USD Coin (USDC), a “stablecoin” that is backed by the U.S. dollar, making it less volatile than cryptocurrencies.

There are currently $25 billion USDC in circulation and Circle believes there will $190 billion USDC in circulation by the end of 2023.  The company has also added related financial services products, including SeedInvest, a platform for helping companies raise capital directly from investors on the internet.

“We’ve seen growing adoption and usage of the USDC across an ever-widening range of use cases,” Jeremy Fox-Geen, Circle’s chief financial officer, said during an investor conference call.

“While we believe that the use case for USDC is the same as the use case for a dollar, for many of those use cases, USDC is the better product,” Fox-Geen said, because it can move and settle faster and more cheaply.