Upon until now, Circle Internet Financial’s products and services have been somewhat of a mystery. People in the crypto-currency community knew that the Massachusetts-based company had some big things going on, but it was all surrounded by a thick layer of fog.
Until now, of course.
Company CEO Jeremy Allaire took to Circle’s official blog on Friday with some relatively interesting updates on what the company has been up to over the past year.
[blockquote style=”2″]What is Circle? We’re an Internet-based consumer finance company. We believe that digital money platforms and associated consumer products and services will revolutionize the way the world uses money. We want to help people store and use digital money anywhere in the world.[/blockquote]
Allaire says that Circle is focused on “promoting and supporting Bitcoin as a payment utility and as a secure store of value” – and not the speculative value of bitcoin.
Here’s how that plays out into an actual product, according to Allaire:
[blockquote style=”2″]With Circle, rather than buying and selling bitcoin, customers can create an account, send and receive money, and make deposits and withdrawals. When you deposit, Circle can instantly convert your fiat currency into bitcoin and store it. When you withdraw, Circle can instantly convert your money from bitcoin back into local currency and transfer it to a bank. Our goal is to make it easy for consumers to deposit and convert currency into a digital form that they can then use globally and instantly, not offer a trading exchange where they can bet on a speculative asset.[/blockquote]
The real benefit with Circle’s services comes with speed. Some of the offerings require customers to wait days before converting fiat to bitcoin and vice-versa.
Key features include: a streamlined consumer experience, free services, instant access, and telephone support.
Dealing with security
On the security front, Circle has seemingly nailed down many of the features users of bitcoin have been yearning for by deploying a multi-sig architecture, a full reserve (the company must legally maintain 100 percent of customer deposit value), insurance from theft, offline cold storage vaults, and a pressure-tested system by a major cyber security firm.
These are features of prime importance to many bitcoin users, particularly because many of them have been burned so badly in the past (see the Mt. Gox scandal).
Allaire also took the opportunity to discuss how the company is complying with anti-money laundering and know-your-customer rules set forth by the United States government.
For users only looking to store bitcoins with Circle, all the company will need is a name and email address. If one, however, decides to connect a bank account/credit card, they will be required to verify their name and address, with a bank/card account in good standing.
“If we detect suspicious activity that could represent criminal activity in the gateways of our platform, we are obliged to report it to law enforcement,” Allaire adds.
“We’ve incorporated this global approach into our initial product release – any existing or new user of Bitcoin can create a Circle account and get free and insured usage and storage of bitcoin. Bitcoin is a global movement, and we want to provide a service to users on every inch and in every corner of the planet,” Allaire adds.
$10 for new users
Maria Tucker at Circle followed up to Allaire’s post by adding that each new Circle Internet Financial customer will receive $10 worth of bitcoin free of charge when they create an account.
No offer codes, no waiting — it’ll just be added to the account immediately upon sign-up.
Circle remains in an invitation-only beta at this juncture. Users can apply for an invite at circle.com.
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[textmarker color=”C24000″]Source[/textmarker] Circle Internet Financial