Despite the turmoil surrounding bitcoin, a Boston startup led by a prominent entrepreneur has raised $17 million to accelerate its attempt at bringing digital currencies into the mainstream.
The company, Circle Internet Financial Ltd., raised the funding in early February just before the collapse of one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, Mt. Gox, according to company chief executive Jeremy Allaire. The sudden crash led to the loss of nearly $400 million worth of bitcoin, at current prices.
Unlike paper currencies that are backed by national governments, bitcoins and other crypto-currencies exist solely within a vast network of computers around the world. They are bought and sold on specialized exchanges that set their value based on supply and demand and that store individual holder’s accounts. A small but growing number of businesses accept bitcoin as payment, including several Boston-area restaurants and retailers.
Founded by Allaire a year ago, Circle is developing a way for consumers to more easily convert, store, send, and receive digital currencies such as bitcoin. The company debuted its account services for a limited number of users Wednesday and plans to make them fully available to consumers later this year.
“We want to make this as easy to use as Gmail, Skype, and other consumer services on the Internet today,” said Allaire, who previously founded two successful companies, Allaire Corp. and Brightcove Inc., a provider of online video services.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week