Crypto firm Circle will merge with SPAC Concord Acquisition Corp in a transaction that values the fintech company at $4.5 billion.
Shares of Concord Acquisition Corp jumped as much as 5% Thursday after the announcement.
Circle is the principal operator of USDC, one of the world’s largest dollar-pegged stablecoins with over $25 billion in circulation. Circle said USDC circulation has grown over 3,400% in 2021 amid growing demand for low-friction digital payments and settlements.
The deal also includes $415 million in PIPE financing supported by institutional investors including Third Point, accounts advised by Ark Investment Management, and Fidelity Management and Research Company.
The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. Upon completion of the transaction, existing Circle shareholders will maintain approximately 86% ownership of the newly public company. The company is expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “CRCL.” Circle’s co-founder Jeremy Allaire will remain CEO.
Allaire told CNBC that Circle will use the proceeds of the transaction for product development and engineering as blockchain finance becomes “the backbone of the global financial system,” as well as sales, marketing, and customer operations.
The Block first reported that Circle could go public via SPAC in May, after the firm raised $440 million in capital.
Coinbase plans to hire hundreds of engineers and other staff for its tech hub in India, who will each be given $1,000 in cryptocurrency when they start, the crypto exchange company said in a blog post Friday.
A “boom in cryptonative talent” prompted the recruitment spree, Pankaj Gupta, Coinbase’s site lead in India wrote in the post.
The Indian hub, announced in March, will house engineering, software development, IT services and customer support. Employees will work remotely, at first, given pandemic concerns, but Coinbase expects to open its first physical office of many in Hyderabad.
“We have ambitious plans for this hub in the near future – we want to hire hundreds of world class engineers in the near term,” Gupta wrote.
The $1,000 in crypto handed to new employees under the CIkka program – short for “Coinbase India Sikka” – is meant to inspire them to come up with ideas to develop the crypto exchange’s range of services.
“Our expectation is that they’ll leverage this offering to learn about crypto, and will use this knowledge to help us build the next generation of products,” Gupta said.
Coinbase plans to set up locally-led teams in India across all the major areas it works in, from crypto to cloud, to machine learning to platform. While, they will be involved in both global and local projects, crypto investing in India also grew from $923 million until April 2020 to nearly $6.6 billion in May, Bloomberg reported.
“There’s never been a more exciting time for builders working in crypto,” Gupta said.
As part of the expansion in India, Coinbase is looking into possible start-up acquisitions and “acquihires” – where a company is bought to secure its talent – Gupta said.
Crypto adoption has grown worldwide, driven by increased popularity for decentralized finance, smart contracts and non-fungible tokens, which like bitcoin and ether are built on blockchains.
The hiring spree covers senior and junior roles across product management, user experience, design and program management. There will also be a HR and recruitment team.
India marked the next step in the company’s global mission as it has already opened hubs in the US, the UK, Ireland, Japan, Singapore, Canada and the Philippines.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell met Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong on May 11 and crypto backer Christopher Giancarlo the next day, according to an entry in his monthly calendar.
Powell’s schedule showed his in-person meeting with Armstrong, which included former House Speaker Paul Ryan, lasted 30 minutes. The crypto market saw wild trading activity around that time, with bitcoin’s price reaching its highest volatility in a year in May.
Armstrong published a Twitter thread on May 15 about his meetings with politicians and agency heads, saying the “goal was to establish relationships and help answer questions about crypto.” He indicated assistance on providing more regulatory clarity on the space as part of the newly formed Crypto Council for Innovation led by Coinbase, Square, Fidelity Investments, and Paradigm.
Coinbase is the largest US crypto exchange with about 56 million registered users that processes $335 billion in trading volume per quarter. It became the first such exchange to go public in April, trading under the ticker symbol “COIN” on the Nasdaq.
A separate virtual meeting with Giancarlo, who was dubbed “Crypto Dad” while serving as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, took place on May 12. His chairmanship overlapped with new markets for bitcoin futures, according to Bloomberg. That meeting, marked as a discussion on the “Digital Dollar Project,” also lasted 30 minutes.
Powell is overseeing the Fed’s exploration of a digital version of the dollar that would be controlled by the central bank. The Fed plans to publish a paper this summer that will lay out the risks and opportunities associated with issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC).
“We think it is important that any potential CBDC could serve as a complement to, and not a replacement of, cash and current private-sector digital forms of the dollar, such as deposits at commercial banks,” Powell said in a statement in May.
Robinhood has been the poster child of the commission-free trading movement that has drawn a new generation of investors into the stock market, and its user base skews heavily to Millennial and Gen Z investors. From iconic companies like Apple, to upstarts looking to disrupt whole industries, here are the top 50 stock picks among Robinhood users.
Workhorse, the Loveland, Ohio-based electric-vehicle maker, has become a retail favorite among other auto manufacturers, like Lordstown Motors and Canoo.
Shares of the plane-maker have rallied more than 12% so far this year.
A new cryptocurrency aims to distribute wealth to “every single person on earth” with the help of an orb-shaped device that would scan people’s irises to identify them, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
Sam Altman, the former president of Y Combinator, a seed-money company that helped grow Airbnb and Dropbox among others, thought of the concept of Worldcoin in 2019 in the hopes of capitalizing on the economic idea of universal basic income, Bloomberg reported.
According to an online job listing, the new cryptocurrency is “free, frictionless and not controlled by anyone.”
Worldcoin hopes to reach mass adoption by “distributing it to everyone on earth through a novel approach: a dedicated hardware device ensuring both humanness and uniqueness of everybody signing up, while maintaining their privacy and the overall transparency of a permissionless blockchain,” the post said.
The silver, basketball-sized device would scan peoples’ irises to create a personal identifier for the coin and prevent users from defrauding the system, Bloomberg reported, adding that the creators said the image isn’t stored. Bloomberg said the device is being tested in various cities with Bitcoin because Worldcoin itself is not yet ready to hit the market.
Altman – who is one of three founders and now serves as an advisor, according to the report – did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for the story. Firms backing Worldcoin include Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm behind Coinbase. The firm also did not respond immediately to Insider.
Worldcoin has yet to be formally unveiled, Bloomberg reported, as the founders, who believe crypto could give the whole world access to financial systems, are considering how to distribute the currency to everyone.
Kraken founder and CEO Jesse Powell said he is considering a traditional initial public offering to take the cryptocurrency exchange public instead of a direct listing following Coinbase’s volatile performance.
“An IPO is looking a little more attractive in light of the direct listing’s performance,” Powell told Fortune. “I would say we’re looking at it more seriously now having the benefit of seeing how the direct public offering played out for Coinbase.”
Powell pinned the volatility of Coinbase’s performance to the method it used to go public, especially since existing shareholders are not prohibited from selling their shares at the debut in direct listings.
Unlike in an IPO, companies that go public via direct listing do not issue new shares.
Coinbase’s chief security officer has denied the crypto exchange helped US authorities recover a big chunk of the $4.3 million crypto ransom paid to Colonial Pipeline hackers, after theories about its involvement circulated online.
Company CSO Philip Martin took to Twitter to respond to the claims that the crypto exchange had played a part in the Department of Justice and FBI seizing 63.7 bitcoins, worth $2.3 million, by unlocking a bitcoin wallet. Court filings showed authorities obtained a seizure warrant for the wallet, which contained funds paid to “Dark Side” hackers who shut down the US’s largest refined-oil-product pipeline in May.
“Coinbase was not the target of the warrant and did not receive the ransom or any part of the ransom at any point. We also have no evidence that the funds went through a Coinbase account/wallet,” Martin tweeted.
Various blockchain data graphs circulating on social media were interpreted as showing the bitcoin ransom was wired through Coinbase’s servers, which led to an outcry from Coinbase users and bitcoin fans.
Pointing to BitQuery graphs in particular, Martin said any reference to Coinbase on graphs and documents referred to “Coinbase” as a concept rather than the crypto exchange itself.
Further, Coinbase uses a “pooled hot wallet”, whereas the FBI was in possession of just one private key, which the crypto exchange could not provide, Martin explained.
The online uproar centered on complaints that collaboration with government agencies was against the spirit of cryptocurrencies, which fans take pride in being decentralized, private and an alternative to state-regulated finance.
The US authorities have yet to give an official explanation of how they were able to obtain the private key that gave them access to the digital wallet used by the Dark Side hackers, allowing them to seize back the majority of the payment.
“So how did they get the private key? Maybe some whiz-bang magic, but my guess would be it was some good ol’ fashioned police work to locate the target servers, and an MLAT request and/or some political pressure to get access.” Martin suggested.
One of regulators’ main concerns around crypto is its use by criminals to fuel illicit activities, and whether authorities need more tools to respond and handle such situations.
The disparity in gains stemmed from the huge inflows that US-focused exchanges saw in the latter part of 2020. Most of the activity came from Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, which debuted on the Nasdaq on April 14.
To arrive at the figures, Chainalysis tracked cryptocurrency exchange transactions, although it did not account for gains on coins yet to be withdrawn. The New York-based blockchain analysis company also acknowledged that the decentralized nature of the technology makes it difficult to determine with certainty where the deals transpired.
Looking closely, the sharp rise can be seen from October to December, the timeframe when the price of bitcoin more than doubled – and kept rising to new all-time highs.
The steepness of the US curve may also suggest that many investors in America sold at higher prices compared to those in other countries who may have held on to their cryptocurrencies more.
The price of bitcoin exploded in the past year, catapulting into the mainstream as institutional investors from Tesla to MicroStrategy adopted the cryptocurrency. It peaked to $64,829 ahead of Coinbase’s listing before losing nearly 50% of its value in the following month.
Bitcoin is trading lower Tuesday by 11.68% at $31,781.
Dogecoin has rocketed nearly 8,000% this year, far surpassing bitcoin’s nearly 30% gain and ether’s 260% climb.
The shiba inu-themed token goes through wild price swings but some analysts do not seem too bothered.
“The price action in doge is extremely volatile but is ultimately driven by supply and demand with real capital,” Jeffrey Wang, head of Americas of Amber Group, a crypto financial services firm, told Insider. “I think the price moves in doge are a great example of free capital markets in action.”
Coinbase joins Gemini and eToro, which both listed the meme token in May this year, as well as Kraken and Binance. Combined, the exchanges effectively open up the meme token to tens of millions of users worldwide.
While the listing is viewed as a stamp of approval by some, others like Peter Jensen, CEO at RocketFuel Blockchain, a global payments company, view the decision of Coinbase as just a strategic business move.
“Exchanges like Coinbase Pro and eToro have enlisted doge only because of the massive inflow of retail user base that dogecoin is getting, which in turn means it’s a profit-generating coin for exchanges,” Jensen told Insider.
Jensen added that unless a major technological upgrade is given to dogecoin, it will remain to be a highly speculative asset without any technological merits.
Here are what eight other experts think of dogecoin’s recent listing:
Wait, but why?
“Dogecoin’s popularity is really just a by-product of the meme-populist age. In essence, it’s a fun way for people to transact and get involved in crypto and investing. Doge is unlikely to have any “use-case” even in the loose sense of the term. It’s important to realize that even the creator Billy Markus sold off all of his dogecoin holdings. Doge can’t compete with bitcoin in the long run because bitcoin has limited supply, and is emerging as a sort of “digital gold.” It can’t square off against ethereum either due to ETH’s smart contract and decentralized app functionality. On its own, it has nothing to offer. So I don’t see this as a watershed moment for dogecoin legitimacy.” – Muneeb Jan, author, Macro Geek Newsletter
“Coinbase is just responding to this popularity. I don’t view dogecoin as being legitimized. Coinbase is an exchange, there are no institutions buying it seriously. Since its supply is unlimited, there are 10,000 new coins mined every minute. This makes it highly inefficient as a legitimate crypto coin except to those that use its volatility to trade it and hang on Elon Musk’s tweets to pump up its value. Even today, Musk’s tweets and mentions of dogecoin seem satirical, not serious. I’m not a fan of hype around dogecoin because it’s a distraction from the useful things being done in blockchain and in crypto, like DeFi.” – Andrew Kiguel, cofounder and CEO, Tokens.com
“We still view this as speculative at best. I think the biggest implication is that many small investors will lose money. The broad crypto landscape, in my opinion, is a combination between a pyramid scheme and the wild west. There are people that will make a lot of money, but there are also a lot of folks who will lose. There are some more legitimate currencies; however, there are also hundreds that are nothing more than ideas. Those that are looking at longer term placeholders for wealth will buy more established cryptos like ether or bitcoin and simply hold.” – Randy Carver, financial expert
“As more crypto brokers begin to offer dogecoin, I see its popularity increasing, but it will take time before it is fully accepted. While socially active, lower account size retail investors are interested in dogecoin and crypto’s in general, active retail investors who trade equities and equity options have largely stayed on the side of crypto trading. With only 50,000 permissible daily transactions of dogecoin, it is a generation away from wider acceptance with retail and institutional investors.” – Dan Raju, CEO, Tradier
It’s about time.
“While a little late, the Coinbase listing is yet another positive sign for the doge community. While it began as a joke, doge’s track record has earned it a place amongst ‘legitimate’ digital assets. While the technology itself hasn’t evolved much, doge has an incredible community and the power of that should not be underestimated. It may have taken Elon Musk and other influential figures to drive awareness and convince institutions of dogecoin’s legitimacy, but as a peer-to-peer network, it’s been widely used for nearly a decade.” – Jason Lau, COO, Okcoin
“The meme currency is now firmly in the mainstream. It’s likely that we’ll see even more interest and adoption from retail investors in the short term, as well as some current doge holders cashing out. Long-term, we simply don’t know; interest in doge may wane, or growing popularity may force traditional financial institutions to re-think what counts as a legitimate asset class. As global adoption continues, the cryptocurrency trading landscape is set to evolve with it. Dogecoin is a representation of how everyday internet users can shape markets when they have the opportunity.” – Philip Gradwell, chief economist, Chainalysis
“Dogecoin getting listed by Coinbase, Gemini, and eToro shows that cryptocurrencies with very strong communities and positive sentiment cannot be ignored, even if they are meme coins. At the end of the day exchanges make money from trades and listing popular cryptocurrencies is good for business as long they are not securities. Liquidity and wide exposure should help dogecoin reach an even larger audience. Originally a meme coin, dogecoin is now a more legitimate digital currency in the eyes of new crypto users than the rest of the field.” – Ian Balina, founder and CEO, Token Metrics
“With the listing of dogecoin on Coinbase, one of the most reputable exchanges, it creates a lot of momentum as well as liquidity. This drives the price up and creates a positive feedback loop on the momentum. I think Coinbase made a significant choice as it ultimately signals that even if coins are created initially as a joke, with enough momentum and a strong community, it can become something much greater. It’s no surprise that doge started as a joke, but with the recent momentum and price action, I think it has created a positive feedback loop of luring back in developers and entrepreneurs and institutions.” – Ben Weiss, CEO, CoinFlip
Users must buy or sell $100 in DOGE through Coinbase by June 10 to be eligible for the sweepstakes, the company said. Coinbase said it plans to give out one prize worth $300,000, 10 prizes worth $30,000, and 6,000 prizes worth $100 by around June 17.
The announcement, along with a tweet from Elon Musk referencing the meme currency, sent dogecoin’s value climbing by as much as 41%.
At $52.3 billion, dogecoin had the sixth-largest market cap among all cryptocurrencies as of Thursday evening, according to CoinMarketCap, after seeing a massive rally in May that sent its market cap soaring to more than $85 billion.
Dogecoin was started as a joke by two engineers in 2013, but has since gained immense popularity thanks to Redditors as well as endorsements from Musk and other high-profile celebrities, leading other crypto trading platforms like Robinhood, eToro, and Gemini to start accepting trades in recent weeks.