The Boston-based bitcoin startup Circle has become the first-known business to receive the New York BitLicense. According to the Circle blog, Circle Financial is now able to service New York residents in compliance with the regulations. Circle, founded two years ago, is backed by heavy investment from Goldman Sachs and others. Circle is now moving into new territory and rebranding its business.
Circle is also allowing members to send payments via text message, which can also be done with dollars. Currencies from other regions of the world are currently in exploration, and integrating them is something the company is looking into. The Boston-based service wants to include an array of new currencies to its application. CTO Sean Neville told blog readers:
“We’re pushing bitcoin into the background for the sake of bringing bitcoin to more people,” — Sean Neville, Circle Financial
With the regulatory changes and the ability to house dollars within its application, CirclePay users are told they can convert at any time with ease. The company has offered a video which explains the process. Bitcoin and dollars are used to transfer value effortlessly through Circle Financial’s wall garden in the video and, believing this will help drive adoption.
The BitLicense, which was created by Ben Lawsky and other bureaucrats, went into effect on August 8, 2015. The NYDFS has reported that 22 Bitcoin companies have applied for the License so far. Coinbase and BitStamp are two of the well-known companies that have applied. However, there have been no reports of licensing approval for either company. Matthew Anderson, the deputy superintendent for public affairs at the NYDFS said:
“We are trying to move expeditiously”
— Matthew Anderson, DFS
With this new move towards New York policies, Circle has the opportunity to bring in a lot of new customers from the city. Additionally, with Circle Pay, the Boston-based service may try to find competition in the contactless payments world with the likes of Google Pay and Apple Pay. Circle’s BitLicense also puts the company in a different place than its competitors because of its willingness to cooperate. When many companies like Shapeshift.io left the state because of the BitLicense, Circle Financial alluded to issues with it as well, but now believes they have been settled. Circle said:
“Though still not perfect, the BitLicense and its requirements became clear and irrefutable prerequisites for serving and supporting everyone in New York. We want to help people everywhere around the globe, and that includes New Yorkers”
I tested the CirclePay application first hand. It immediately asked me if I wanted to convert to USD, which I did and then converted back to BTC with ease. I’ll stick with Bitcoin thank you. Nice try Circle! The simplicity of the app’s UI is one of the service’s best aspects. The company is offering a host of new features, such as free debit purchases and higher daily limits. Circle seems pleased with its decision to work with regulators and U.S. Dollars, as it is now setting itself apart from its main U.S. competitor: Coinbase.
Bitcoin.com will follow CirclePay as it develops, also watching for other companies who get approval for the New York BitLicense.
What are your first impressions of CirclePay? Let us know in the comments below!
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