Circle, the issuer of the USDC stablecoin, plans to go public by the end of the year through a SPAC with special purpose acquisition company Concord Acquisition Corp. The deal values the crypto financial services firm at $4.5 billion.
The deal announced on Thursday values Circle at $4.5 billion following just a few weeks after the firm raised a $440 million funding round from investors including Fidelity, Valor Capital Group, Marshall Wace, and Willett Advisors, the personal investment arm of Michael Bloomberg.
The eight-year-old startup Circle is widely known as the co-creator of the U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin USD Coin (or USDC).
“We just see an incredible opportunity to grow rapidly and grow around the world, and we think that this set of transactions and becoming a public company really sets us up to be a trusted platform in this digital currency industry,” said Jeremy Allaire, Circle CEO, on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
The announcement comes amid regulators seek more transparency around the trading and issuers of stablecoins suggesting they obtain bank charters. To this end, several U.S. Congress lawmakers introduced in December the Stablecoin Tethering and Bank Licensing Enforcement Act, or the STABLE Act.
Stablecoins are digital currencies that are pegged to the real asset to be less volatile than other cryptos. According to Marketplace.com, USDC is currently the eighth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Amid stablecoins, it has $26 billion of market value, which trails only Tether with $62 billion.
“We’re building this suite of what we call transaction and treasury services – those look more similar to at-scale, financial services platforms. It’s a diversified set of businesses,” Allaire added.
Earlier this year, Visa settled a USDC transaction on its payment network. The move lays the groundwork to potentially support a digital dollar and other central bank digital currencies worldwide.
The deal with Concord will allow Circle to expand its infrastructure and reach drastically. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. According to the company presentation on July 8, USDC’s current $26 billion supply is expected to grow to $190 billion.
The merger between Circle and Concord will see $415 million in additional capital commitments at $10 per share. The infusion will come from investors Marshall Wace, Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, and Adage Capital Management LP.
The merger will consolidate power at the top of both firms. Jeremy Allaire of Circle will remain CEO of the company, while Concord Chairman Bob Diamond to join the board.
Before, China’s central bank deputy governor Fan Yifei has expressed concerns stablecoins could pose a risk to the stability of the global financial system.