Circle is Distancing Themselves from Bitcoin

Much has changed at Circle Internet Financial in the past week. The company was granted the first BitLicense from the state of New York, and since made some changes to the service:

Today we took another step toward realizing that goal. Now in the United States, you can send, receive, and hold US dollars in addition to using bitcoin for payments within the Circle app.

You can enjoy the benefits of Bitcoin without ever holding or buying bitcoin yourself, and without being exposed to bitcoin price volatility. Even if you prefer to hold US dollars in your Circle account, you gain security, speed, and open interoperability with bitcoin wallets and services around the globe. You can hold US dollars but still send someone bitcoin, and likewise someone can send you bitcoin and Circle can instantly turn it into US dollars in your account.

And if you still prefer to hold bitcoin instead of dollars? That’s perfectly fine; you can switch back and forth between currencies at any time with zero fees. As we add further currencies, you can expect the same.

Yet, since the announcement, many customers have expressed concern over how the service has operated.


According to some, Circle won’t let them transfer bitcoins out of the service for four weeks. Others have reported Circle has paused deposits and withdrawals. Circle representatives told CCN some changes have been made, but not nearly as all-encompassing as some Redditors make it seem.

“On Tuesday, we updated our send and receive limits, with most customers receiving a limits increase,” Circle VP of Marketing, Josh Hawkins, told me.

For a small number of customers, the limit may have come down or remained the same. These customers can contact Circle support and they will raise the limits, allow customer to move the funds out, and then the limits will be returned to the normal level.

The service interruptions, moreover, were not Circle’s fault.

“We think of ourselves as a consumer finance company. We see bitcoin as an enabling technology,” President and co-founder Sean Neville told Reuters. This position has surprised some Bitcoiners, who were under the impression the company was a Bitcoin company. Not so, and the company makes this clear, even seemingly pushing individuals towards USD accounts.

CircleBitcoinIn a recent advertisement for the company, there is no mention of Bitcoin. 

The company, whose backers include Goldman Sachs, was the first to receive a New York BitLicense earlier this week. The company views Bitcoin not as its main product, but, rather, as an enabler to change how people transact.