With investment up but attitudes towards cryptocurrency being more diverse than ever, it can be difficult to encourage customers to use new products that operate using blockchain. However, one fintech that has succeeded is Circle, which made it into the top 20 UK iPhone App Store chart last year.
Circle is a crypto finance company that allows people around the world to create and share value in an affordable, open and empowering way by leveraging blockchain technology and crypto assets, the company has attempted to reimagine what financial services mean.
With products such as Circle Pay, Poloniex and Circle Trade already being adopted, Circle are also on the brink of releasing investment app Circle Invest in Europe after success in the US. This product is an easy way for crypto newbies to invest in a range of different assets through a simple, seamless and mobile experience.
Speaking to Circle’s Managing Director Europe and Global CMO Marieke Flament ahead of the Europe launch of Circle Invest, she said when bringing the fintech to the continent, “hiring was one of the biggest challenges”.
Flament continued to say that “when I joined in February 2016, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies were emerging concepts in Europe, and Circle wasn’t as widely known as it is today. We tackled these challenges by building and fostering a great working culture at Circle - defining the values we would life new hires to have, such as continuous innovation, providing flexible working benefits, focussing on diversity and having an inspiring vision!”
“Another challenge, and one we continue to focus on, is educating people about the value of crypto. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the competition in crypto, which is fierce.” Circle’s social payment app Circle Pay soon achieved widespread adoption after using a networth of student ambassadors in the UK.
“The app is perfect for students because most are digital natives and our app makes it as easy and intuitive as possible to manage money digitally. Through Circle Pay, they can send money as easily as a text or Snap, which makes the whole process conversational instead of daunting,” Flament explained.
Following on from the success of this, Circle Trade was born, the OTC trading desk created for large scale trades in cryptocurrencies to facilitate liquidity needs and later, Circle acquired the token exchange platform Poloniex, which offers liquidity in ethereum - the first to reach $1 billion in daily volume.
When asked about dealing with resistance to blockchain, Flament said that Circle wants to “educate people and try to demystify blockchain and crypto, which we know can be complex. We do that through educational blogs, by speaking at conferences all over the globe, and trying to answer questions from customers, crypto enthusiasts, and reporters.
“The great thing is when people learn about crypto and blockchain, they tend to fall in love and share what they learn with everyone they know. We also work closely with regulators to help educate them on the industry and to learn from them about how we can operate within the law and with high standards.”
While there is resistance to crypto, that Circle seem to be dealing with, another obstacle that every fintech will have to face is Brexit, an issue for those who are attempting to set up in Europe, like Circle are.
On this subject, Flament said: “Whilst London will probably continue to be the centre of innovation and talent for the fintech industry across Europe, Brexit could lead to Circle potentially losing its ability to passport its e-money licence issued by the FCA. We are in conversations to obtain licences in other European jurisdictions to mitigate this issue.”
Madhvi Mavadiya Contributor