China’s Baidu Makes American Blockchain Investment

By TechSecurityChina.com Editor
June 28, 2016

Chinese search engine Baidu.com has made a fintech investment in an American blockchain company.

U.S. Bitcoin start-up Circle Internet Financial announced that they gained USD60 million funding from a consortium, which was led by IDG and participants included Breyer Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Baidu, CICC Alpha, China Everbright Investment and Assets Management, IBM's former chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano, and Silver Lake's co-founder Glenn Hutchins.

Circle was jointly founded by Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville in Boston in 2013. The company uses blockchain technology to optimize consumer payment methods. Circle's co-founders hope to enter the P2P payment market with Bitcoin and allow users to realize rapid transfers with their friends.

At the end of 2014, Circle launched its first app and the company gained its first digital currency license BitLicense in September. In April 2016, Circle gained the first electronic currency license issued by the British government.

At the same time, Circle established its Chinese branch, aiming to capitalize on a population that is comfortable with payments made over social media. But Bitcoin payments in China are currently not officially recognized by the Chinese government as a legal means of funds transfer.

To date, Circle has gained four rounds of funding. In October 2013, the company gained USD9 million investments from Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst Partners; in March 2014, the company gained USD17 million investments from Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, and Oak Investment Partners; and in April 2015, the company gained USD50 million investments from Goldman Sachs and IDG.

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