Business 15 October 2018

Erik Gibbs

Goldman Sachs-backed Circle buys SeedInvest

Goldman Sachs-backed cryptocurrency company Circle is now the proud owner of an equity crowdfunding platform. The firm has reportedly purchased SeedInvest as part of its plan to become a complete blockchain-based financial company.

Circle acquired SeedInvest last week, according to an announcement on the company’s website. The acquisition is seen as a strategic move by the company, which also bought Poloniex earlier this year, toward a loftier goal of being a central hub for any type of crypto activity. Circle has also launched its own stablecoin, the US Dollar coin, as part of that plan.

Circle indicated, “The SeedInvest product includes many of the end-to-end capabilities needed for executing regulated crowdfunding, including startup due diligence, securities issuance, investor accreditation, payments and securities custody, as well as a broad range of innovative tools for startups to market their crowdfunding offerings online in a compliant fashion. With the merger and approval from key regulators, these capabilities will be expanded to support crypto-denominated investments including using fiat stablecoins such as USDC, as well as issuing and offering tokenized securities.”

Jeremy Allaire, the company’s CEO, expects that there will be a huge migration toward blockchain technology by all financial institutions within the next couple of years. He told CNBC in an interview recently that, “if we zoom out, there’s going to be this tokenization of everything.” He further predicts that “eventually these marketplaces will have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of assets — so the next piece was a broker dealer.”

SeedInvest CEO Ryan Feit asserts that the platform’s strategy is similar to that of blockchain startups looking for funds. He said of the crowdfunding platform, “we’re chasing a similar vision of changing the way businesses raise capital. It’s a different form of enabling companies to raise money, and another form of alternative assets for investors.”

The acquisition of SeedInvest is only in its early stage. In its announcement, Circle indicates that it has signed a definite agreement to buy the company, but adds, “This acquisition and planned new offerings are subject to FINRA [Financial Regulatory Authority] approval.”

New York-based SeedInvest is reportedly the largest equity crowdfunding platform in the United States. It has a network of more than 200,000 investors and has generated “triple-digit annual revenue growth.” In its “Inc. 500 List,” Inc. Magazine ranks the company as the fourth fastest-growing financial services firm in the U.S.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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