The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity and innovation for Circle. As we reflect on the successful completion of our inaugural crypto conference, Converge22, and all of the incredible experiences and conversations our conference generated, I am humbled to celebrate this major coming-of-age for our company. We are deeply grateful for the thousands of people who believe in our team and mission, and who were willing to travel to our conference from around the world to be part of the conversations about the future of crypto.
Circle has long cherished four critical core values: multi-stakeholder, mindful, driven by excellence and high integrity. These drive nearly every facet of our business, from our curation of candidates to our customer-first approach to our dedication to working within regulatory perimeters to industry thought leadership and innovation. Indeed, Converge’s guest list, presenters, and sponsors were carefully considered out of respect for our core values, which resulted in our diverse array of customers, partners, policymakers, and young crypto industry professionals ranging from the crypto curious to the crypto-native. A highlight for me was having the privilege of presenting as part of a kickass, all-female panel, with a female moderator, alongside women who are executing incredible initiatives in the crypto ecosystem.
For those who weren’t able to join us at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Converge22 was headlined with some of the most notable individuals across traditional finance, the broader crypto ecosystem, fintech, and philanthropy. In between the highly anticipated main stage sessions, we had the pleasure of hosting dozens of break-out sessions, where attendees could attend panels focused on various relevant topics for crypto and all of web3.
I’d like to share some of the conference highlights with you…
Policy & Regulation for Mainstream Adoption
Crypto regulations have been a talking point for our industry for quite some time and were a key point of discussion on our main stage and in breakout sessions. One of the many reasons I’m so proud of our organization and what we have built, and continue to build, is our aligned belief in the value of settled, responsible regulation.
Sherice Torres, Circle’s Chief Marketing Officer, and one of the architects of our inaugural crypto conference, connected with members of our team in between main stage sessions and shared her thoughts on the value of building innovative tech while participating with government leaders. “This is the main reason that I came to Circle. I’ve been in tech for quite some time. And while I do believe that innovation can move forward faster than public policy at times, Circle took an approach to innovate alongside of policy, alongside of regulation. If we’re going to take blockchain and Web3 mainstream for billions of people to use it, we need a responsible, settled regulatory regime.”
Innovation for the Utility Phase of Crypto
As we continue to innovate and help bridge traditional finance and the crypto ecosystem, we celebrated a recent partnership with Robinhood Markets, Inc. Customers on Robinhood Crypto and the new Robinhood Wallet can now buy and sell USDC, as well as access exclusive in-app educational modules to earn USDC rewards. Additionally, Robinhood will leverage Circle’s payment infrastructure to improve settlements across Robinhood products, to be fully integrated in early 2023.
One of our exciting announcements to our live audience was our intent for USDC to be natively available to new blockchains. USDC is currently natively available on Algorand, Avalanche, Ethereum, Flow, Hedera, Solana, Stellar and TRON. Circle intends to add native availability to Arbitrum, Cosmos, NEAR, Optimism and Polkadot.
In addition, we announced an accelerated crypto payments roadmap enhanced by Circle’s recent acquisition of Elements, a merchant and developer-first payments orchestration platform. The announcement includes plans to quickly scale payment offerings to continue unlocking utility value for crypto and lower the barrier of entry for merchants to access next-gen payments and financial services.
The new payment offerings make it simple for merchants to integrate their existing payment service provider (PSP) relationships with Circle’s crypto payment platform. These developments represent a critical step in facilitating increased USDC transactions in merchant payments.
Similarly, Circle announced the upcoming launch of our new Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol to help developers build seamless user experiences for sending and transacting USDC natively across blockchains. Users today have limitations when transferring USDC across blockchain ecosystems. Existing solutions typically require locking up USDC on one chain and creating a synthetic “bridged” version of USDC on another – creating fragmented liquidity and a complicated user experience.
With Circle’s Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol, developers building wallets, bridges, payments apps, financial services tools will be able to enable users to send and transact USDC natively across chains. Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol effectively teleports USDC from one ecosystem to another, maximizing capital efficiency and streamlining the user experience.
Creating Impact with Inclusive Partnerships
Circle Impact announced a number of exciting initiatives on behalf of the company as well. The first was the launch of a pilot initiative for Circle U, a free crypto literacy program that promotes digital financial literacy and well-being. The program is a component of Circle Impact’s digital financial literacy pillar aimed at enabling underserved populations with the knowledge of, and accessibility to, the digital financial revolution. The pilot program, rolling out this quarter, includes students enrolled at several U.S. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
In further support of philanthropic initiatives: The Mara Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering youth, communities, marginalized populations, and problem solvers to build solutions that drive long-term positive social, economic and environmental change in Africa, officially announced its partnership with Circle. The focus of the partnership is to help provide developers based in Africa with critical opportunities, tools and access needed to build DApps and blockchain solutions. Through this first-of-its-kind strategic partnership, Circle and Mara aim to jointly increase awareness of USDC, champion blockchain adoption, and train one million developers with the intent to positively impact Africa’s growing population of one billion people over the next five years.
Last but not least, Circle Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Policy, Dante Disparte, announced Circle’s commitment to contribute up to $500,000 to disaster relief in Puerto Rico and Florida, both recently devastated by Hurricane Ian. Consistent with our core values of multi-stakeholder and mindful in particular, financial inclusion and philanthropy are top priorities for Circle. We remain committed to helping those in need however possible.
In closing, Converge22 was a major milestone in the evolution of our company on many levels. As we look to the future of crypto and the role Circle will play in leading innovation for the entire space, Jeremy laid out his vision for cryptocurrencies to “exit the speculative phase, and enter the utility phase. For early internet pioneers, it’s the equivalent of going from dial-up to broadband.” I’m delighted to say that USDC use cases continue to grow every day. We nevertheless tirelessly continue to be laser-focused on achieving our mission: to raise global economic prosperity through the frictionless exchange of value.