Crypto is poised to change payments, according to Circle Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Allaire, and the stable coin maker hopes to play a role in the center of this new. The company is known for its production of USD Coin (USDC), the most popular US dollar-backed stable coin Circle is getting more interest for its digital currency, and has partnerships including MoneyGram, Mastercard, and Plaid. But the company has more ambitious goals in the future.
“In perhaps three, five, or ten years the concept of a cross-border transfer will be as ridiculous as the notion of a cross-border electronic mail or browsing across borders,” says Allaire.
“In the age of everything being connected via the Internet in an easy and accessible manner, these ideas are going to disappear.”
Circle has ambitious plans to play an integral role in this mission as it plans to increase the usage of USDC but also to create a similar stable coin that are backed by fiat to other currencies that are fiat including the Euro. This has led to a rise in its valuation as the company is planning to go public with the form of a SPAC acquisition that will join Concord Acquisition Corp at a valuation of $9 billion, which is twice the $4.5bn amount initially announced at the time of when it was made public in the month of July. It also expects substantial revenue growth once its products become available.
But despite all this the fact that it’s still getting momentum and advocating USDC’s potential advantages that extend beyond crypto-native companies.
Circle and the rising of USDC
While some cryptocurrencies are notorious for their volatile nature, USDC is designed to be in a 1:1 relationship with US dollars in that Circle always holding exactly the same amount of money in the same amount in the same amount as USDC it circulates and is supported by a partnership that it has with Silvergate Bank. Presently, there are 53.5bn USDC in circulation, which is up from 42 billion in the latter half of 2021. by 2022’s end, it is expected to be 110 billion USDC.
“USDC is an acronym representing the fiat currency dollar as well as to settle that transaction over the internet,” explains Allaire.
“It’s an open standard which is accessible to the internet public and is a part of a variety of public blockchain networks, and anyone is able to connect to it. If you create an online wallet, commercial service, or financial website, you’ll be able to connect to the protocol. You don’t need the authorization to access it.”
The majority of businesses making the most of this technology are in the crypto industry including companies that create Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). These businesses prefer USDC over dollars in fiat currency for business transactions because they can convert them to another cryptocurrency when needed and conduct almost every operation without having to deal with fiat currency.
The company Circle intends to increase the usage of digital currency beyond this particular segment. to do this, it will require Circle to present a case for the utility of USDC for those who are accustomed to a payment system that is fiat-only.
One example of how it’s beginning to take this approach is its collaboration that it has formed with MoneyGram and Stellar that allows MoneyGram customers to immediately transfer funds across the world by using USDC as well as collect it of local currency. This is showing potential uses instances of the stable coin but also providing individuals with a fresh method to purchase and hold USDC.
“You are able to imagine the impact of someone saying, “Okay, I’ve got money. I’m about to walk into a MoneyGram establishment. I’m going to offer them money and instead of having it delivered and converted by FX for another MoneyGram location, I receive an electronic wallet and receive a QR code, and the cash is converted to USDC and is in my wallet’s digital version,'” explains Allaire, noting that customers are able to utilize the cash for P2P transactions to each other.
“People speak about last mile and payment or the off and on-ramps. It’s a direct relationship between the physical layer as well as the digital layer that has optimized settlement between MoneyGram locations, but can also turn into a valuable tool for people who utilize MoneyGram as a way to get in and out of USDC.”
Business crypto ownership
As these partnerships demonstrate the potential of USDC in the remittance market, Circle is also pushing further into the business world by building on its current B2B-only strategy. It has recently come through its Circle Account, which Allaire defines as “the equivalent to the digital currency of a corporate banking account”.
It was launched in February of this year, it allows businesses to manage and manage digital currency for both operational and investment use. It can be well-used to forward and take in payment in digital currency. It also lets you store deposits, withdraw and deposit USDC.
“It could be similar to opening a bank account to be an enterprise, but everything is exclusively in digital currency,” says Allaire.
“And it allows you to convert existing bank accounts to USDC to make use of it as a payment medium.”
Additionally, it gives businesses the possibility of earning money through their stored USDC.
“We offer treasury service and, therefore, if you’d like to increase yield by borrowing your USDC to yield markets,” He says.
“You could get interested earned on USDC If you wish to use the same capabilities and integrate it in your own treasury and payment flows. We offer a range of API services that charge a fee to integrate it into your business operations.”
Circle Account Circle Account has been launched into a rather sluggish market that is where companies who are interested in dealing with cryptocurrency have a limited selection of services that can be tailored to meet their specific requirements. This is an indication of the small interest in these services however, this is beginning to change because of this year’s Russia-Ukraine War. Certain businesses that have contractors or employees in the region are receiving requests for the payment of wages to certain employees using digital currencies and are now starting to wrestle with the limited range of options that can be used to achieve this.
Circle operating and revenue between 2019 and 2023E.
The potential of e-commerce
Although businesses are just starting to look into the potential for digital currency, the e-commerce industry has seen an increase in support for cryptocurrency for a while. For many consumers, it’s been an experiment and has been hampered by practical concerns like the expense of transactions on widely-used blockchains like Ethereum.
“The price really increased and the experience of users who have the digital wallet is relatively high-friction,” Allaire says. Allaire, adds that this may be beginning to change with the advent of the introduction of a new generation of blockchains specifically designed for eCommerce applications.
“What we’re seeing now is rapid growth in super scalable extremely low-cost extremely quick blockchains that are a little more specifically designed to handle retail scale transactions,” the expert says.
He provides an illustration of blockchain Solana that recently introduced Solana Pay, which is a QR code-based system for payment that allows payments using digital currencies, including USDC.
“That lets someone with a digital wallet compatible with the system to pay. The business will accept the payment, and it’s settled within 400 milliseconds” Allaire explains. Allaire.
“It’s nearly like the cash transaction. The transaction cost is one-tenth of a penny. it is strong enough to back up to 60,000 transactions per second which is a lot.”
This potential offers Allaire an optimistic outlook regarding the potential for growth of digital currencies in e-commerce, despite their current small percentage of the market.
“We expect in the coming two years to see an even larger ecosystem, the majority of existing payment service ecosystem players are beginning to embrace protocols similar to this, which will provide new opportunities for commerce,” he says. “We’re just beginning to get into this market, but it’s still in the early stages.”
Making money programmable
Although businesses might be able to appreciate the benefits of digital payments which settles at the same rate that cash does, to consumers it’s not a significant improvement in their user experience. But where this could be different is the possibility to alter the way money is managed and utilized through the transformation of it a digital protocol.
Allaire says that this is “the ability to program money” and claims that the DeFi world is starting to demonstrate “real technological innovation”. One of these examples can be Zebec Pay, a project founded upon the Solana blockchain, which Circle invests in.
“It’s an online payment method that lets you pay on demand,” he explains.
“Basically streaming value on an individual level to users. Also, imagine gig economy employees and sharing economy workers with an electronic wallet that can support USDC and, when they finish their work, they’re receiving payments streamed to them.”
Another example Allaire gives comes taken from Request Finance, which provides what Allaire calls the “automated bill of sale protocol”.
“Now when you’re looking to send invoices to any online account that’s Ethereum is based and you have now an invoicing protocol. It can accept invoices with USDC payment settlement incorporated into the invoices,” He says saying that such initiatives are the first instances of what he views as a paradigm shift in the handling and use of money.