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Barclays Backs Blockchain-Boosting Circle’s UK Launch

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Social payment app Circle now supports pound sterling and deal with Barclays could spread blockchain technology in the UK

Barclays is lending its support to social payments app Circle after the service launched in the UK with support for British pounds, allowing UK users to send money to anyone, anywhere in the world without any fees.

Circle, which is available to download now on Android and iOS, has been granted an e-money licence by the Financial Conduct Authority – the first digital currency company in the world to do so.

Sterling and dollars are transmitted over the blockchain, meaning users are able to send and receive money through thousands of other digital payments services instantly.

Snappy

circle launchCircle’s new partnership will see Barclays’ Corporate Banking business support the company with the account needed to store British sterling for consumers, as well as the infrastructure to allow transfers from any UK bank account in and out of Circle.

“We support the exploration of positive uses of blockchain that can benefit consumers and society,” a Barclays spokesperson said in a statement.

“Circle’s decision to launch in the UK, and the firm’s new partnership with Barclays are major milestones,” added Britain’s Economic Secretary to the Treasury Harriett Baldwin. “They prove our decision to introduce the most progressive, forward-looking regulatory regime is paying off and cements our status as the world’s FinTech capital.”

Wariness

bitcoin brokenMany banks have been reluctant to partner with blockchain firms in the past due to their links with Bitcoin, which has been linked to several underground and criminal operations.

Last year, the Bank of England went as far as also raised its suspicions about the use of Bitcoin last year, warning that the digital currency could pose a threat to financial stability in the UK should it see widespread adoption.

However, several major financial institutions, including Barclays, have announced plans to work with cyptocurrencies such as Bitcoin as they look for a more digital-friendly approach.

“At Circle, we envision a new experience for money that builds on the experiences and possibilities we have with messaging, social media, and other forms of communication and information sharing that billions of people have become accustomed to online,” said Circle co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville.

“We’d be thrilled if everyone in the world enjoyed Circle, but people benefit most if Circle is part of an open global network of value exchange with thousands of other software providers, online services, and financial institutions who are connecting to and innovating on public blockchains. We create network effects for one another, and grow the strength and resiliency of the system as a whole.”

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