BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, invests in stablecoin creator USDC

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Boston-based fintech startup Circle has raised $400 million in new funding, adding to the list of crypto unicorns that have benefited from a bull run by investors.

The new funding saw participation from a group of leading investors including BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with nearly $8 trillion in assets under management. The funding was also funded by existing investors including Fidelity Management and Research, Marshall Wace LLP and Fin Capital.

This round, plus the $440 million raised in 2021 and a $110 million Series E the stablecoin issuer raised in 2018, brings its total funding to nearly $1 billion.

“Digital dollar currencies like USDC are fueling a global economic transformation, and Circle’s technology infrastructure is at the center of that change. This funding round will lead to the next evolution of Circle’s growth. It is particularly gratifying to add BlackRock as a strategic investor in the company. We look forward to growing our partnership,” said Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle.

In addition to its investment and role as the primary asset manager of USDC’s cash reserves, BlackRock has partnered with Circle to explore capital market applications for its stablecoin.

BlackRock made headlines last year when it added bitcoin futures contracts to derivatives that two of its funds can invest in. The development came shortly after BlackRock CEO Larry Fink provided a somewhat bullish view of the world’s first cryptocurrency. In a relatively rare endorsement, Fink said bitcoin had “got the attention” and could largely replace gold, but warned its growing popularity is having a real impact on the US dollar.

At the time, Fink, who made BlackRock the largest fund management company in the world, dismissed bitcoin as nothing more than a vehicle for speculation and money laundering.

USDC market cap rises to $50 billion

Circle has expanded the scope of the offering which primarily focuses on retail and investment to attract B2B partnerships. Currently, the crypto unicorn is placing more emphasis on its USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar. Additionally, the company opens doors for businesses with a dedicated account type that allows them to deposit, withdraw, send, receive, store, and allocate funds to invest in cryptocurrencies.

Acting as a kind of safe haven where crypto traders can park their assets in volatile markets, USDC is an ERC-20 coin based on Ethereum, which allows wallets, exchanges and other smart contracts to easily interact with the token.

With nearly $50 billion in tokens in circulation, USDC continues its remarkable trajectory, growing 10x in 2021. It is now the second most widely used stablecoin, just behind Tether’s USDT .

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