Circle’s Secret Crypto Empire

Conor Maloney

March 21, 2019

In the depths of crypto winter, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that major moves are still being made. Key players in the industry seizing the opportunity created by a volatile and unforgiving space to snap up entire companies while their valuation is taking a hit from the market crash.

Circle is one such outfit, raising staggering amounts of money and using it to acquire promising companies in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. As Shaun Shaughnessy of Chain Podcast put it, they’re “building an empire”.

What role will they play in the future?


Circle is technically another “peer to peer payments company”, but that doesn’t really paint the full picture. Backed by Goldman Sachs, the company raised over a quarter of a billion dollars last year and is looking to do the same again in 2019, and the money isn’t just for internal R&D either.

Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire has expressed a wish to bring about the “tokenization of everything“, stating that there was a lot more to the cryptocurrency space than Bitcoin. Privacy coins, commodities, securities, and stablecoins are all of interest to Circle, and the company is researching solutions into industry-wide technologies for a vast host of purposes.

And that’s just within Circle itself.


As previously reported by CryptoIsComing, the Boston-headquartered firm acquired Poloniex last year, a struggling cryptocurrency exchange currently ranked at #69 by volume on Coinmarketcap with a relatively modest daily turnover of around $12 million.

Interestingly, Circle shelled out a whopping $40 million for the firm, obviously seeing something in it that many others in the space do not.

A juggernaut of the crypto space, Circle presumably has something of a crack team of business analysts and advisors at its disposal, and the space is awaiting the success or failure of whatever Circle has planned in terms of turning things around for Poloniex.

Seed Invest

Circle has also acquired Seed Invest, a crowdfunding platform and broker-dealer. Circle finally closed the acquisition this month, SeedInvest carried out 220 fundraising campaigns totaling at $110 million, with an average sum of $500,000 raised overall.

Circle will be able to integrate cryptocurrency fundraising capabilities to the platform, totally changing the business model and allowing it to straddle the worlds of traditional finance and cryptocurrency as a fundraising giant.

Allaire commented on the acquisition.

This was a company who had been at the forefront of collaborating with government to figure out how to make it possible to innovate in the way people raise capital. Crypto securities are going to become a major new category of securities that ultimately every business is going to adopt, just like every business has a website.

Circle Pay

As the first recipient of the New York BitLicense,  the company has been a trailblazer in many ways, perhaps benefiting from its traditional banking connections when beating competitors to regulation.

With Circle Pay, a mobile payment platform, as well as a major crowdfunding platform and a well-established cryptocurrency exchange, it all begs the question – what exactly is Circle working on, and where do the limits of its crypto empire lie?