Circle Internet Financial said it raised an additional $440 million, a huge cash infusion as the Boston company seeks to make it easier to use cryptocurrencies that are not subject to the massive swings in value common with Bitcoin and other leading digital coins.
The private investment, announced late last week, comes as Circle has been working since 2018 on what is known as a “stablecoin.” Circle’s product is known as USDC, and it is linked to the price of the US dollar.
The company’s funders include Boston’s Fidelity Investments, a longtime backer of cryptocurrency ventures, which earlier this year asked federal regulators for permission to launch a digital currency investment fund.
Circle said that it has issued $22 billion worth of USDC, and that the currency has been used in $615 billion in transactions over the past year.
Circle created USDC with the cryptocurrency trading company Coinbase. Unlike the better-known Bitcoin, which can rise or fall in value by thousands of dollars in a day, USDC’s value acts like that of a traditional currency.
People who trade in Bitcoin or Ethereum can use Circle’s financial network to buy or sell these assets using USDC. This eliminates costly and time-consuming conversions between digital money and traditional cash.
In addition, Circle is developing high-yield savings accounts, where people can make deposits in USDC and can collect as much as 7 percent interest on their digital money.
Like a traditional bank, Circle will make a profit by lending out the deposits and charging interest.
Hiawatha Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.