Circle Makes a massive, long-term cryptocurrency bet

What started as a peer-to-peer payment company five years ago has fully embraced cryptocurrency. Circle is buying up exchanges and startups in a bet that, despite this year’s slump in prices, the crypto economy is here to stay.

Its latest move was acquiring equity-fundraising start-up SeedInvest last week. That company until now had nothing to do with cryptocurrency and didn’t seem like an obvious fit for Circle. But Circle founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire explained that it’s a cornerstone for his bet that most of the existing financial system is going digital.

“If we zoom out, there’s going to be this tokenization of everything,” Allaire told CNBC in an interview at the Security Token Academy conference in Manhattan. “Eventually these marketplaces will have tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of assets — so the next piece was a broker dealer,” licensed and ready to go.

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