Blockchain Startup Circle Raises $60 Million Amid China Expansion

Blockchain-based social payments app Circle has raised $60m in new funding as it expands to China.

AccessTimeIconJun 22, 2016 at 11:23 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:20 p.m. UTC
Consensus 2023 Logo
Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.
Consensus 2023 Logo
Join the most important conversation in crypto and Web3 taking place in Austin, Texas, April 26-28.

Blockchain-based payments app Circle has raised $60m in new funding from China-based investors, an announcement that coincides with its unveiling of a dedicated domestic subsidiary, Circle China.

The Series D funding was led by Beijing-based investment firm IDG Capital, with Breyer Capital, General Catalyst Partners, SilverLake co-founder Glenn Hutchins and former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano contributing funding. Circle also added new strategic partners in the region including Baidu, CICC Alpha, China EverBright Investments, Fenbushi Capital and CreditEase.

In interview, Circle co-founders Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire indicated that the Series D round will be used to fund its global operations, and that Circle China had been capitalized six months ago with a separate seed round.

However, Neville and Allaire used the announcement to emphasize how they believe Circle is now taking steps to build a truly global payments experience, one that will soon be able to allow users in the US, Europe and China to exchange value with the ease of a text message.

Allaire told CoinDesk:

“We don’t think of ourselves as focused on remittance or money transfer, we don’t think those categories will exist. For us, this capital is all going in the global company and that’s investment in consumer marketing, that’s the focus.”

Allaire sought to describe Circle as “not another closed network” like peer-to-peer payment platforms like Venmo or Transferwise, companies to which the startup’s business model market observers allege is now perhaps most similar.

In this way, Neville and Allaire assert that their core advantage is not that Circle will excel in providing money transfer services to consumers, but rather a more mature version of the company’s app will transcend boundaries, and thus, be more user friendly.

Disclaimer: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Circle.

Image via Shutterstock


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2023, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.