Circle secures $60m investment from Chinese technology and financial firms

A group of technology and financial firms in China have made a $60 million investment in the Chinese unit of Circle, a U.S. based bitcoin startup.

The firms include Baidu, the Chinese search giant, CICC Alpha, the private-equity arm of China EverBright Investment Management Ltd., CreditEase, a Chinese financial services firm traded in the U.S., and IDG Capital Partners which led the round, according to USA Today writer John Shinal.

Circle is based in the United States, and has recently expanded to the UK with a partnership with Barclays, making Circle the first digital currency firm to receive an e-money license from the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Circle has also been seeking a federal banking license from U.S. regulators.

With this new round of funding, Circle plans to open an office in China to focus on the Chinese market, which has been in part fueling the latest price spike.

“We use the block chain to share value just like Internet protocol lets us share communication. Our goal is to build a global, international bank that is instant, global and free. Sending payments should be as easy as sending an email,” said Jeremy Alliare, CEO of Circle.

It should be no surprise to those in the loop that Circle is banking on the blockchain. Circle founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville say they are attempting to tackle the social payments and remittance space by taking advantage of the bitcoin blockchain. Since the blockchain enables fast and cheap payments, Circle is able to have their customers transact in a friction-less manner worldwide.