The company, already licenced in New York and in the UK, reportedly looks for a permit with the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), possibly a “limited-purpose charter”.

The major American bitcoin and blockchain wallet and payment provider submitted the application to the OCC as early as in 2015, says Wall Street Journal with the reference to “people familiar with the matter.” According to the source, the request is still being processed by the authorities.

While the representatives of OCC declined any comments about Circle in particular, they confirmed that several fintech startups have expressed interest in receiving charters from the regulator. As Thomas Curry, the Comptroller of the Currency, affirmed, “We need to be open to discussing it and working through it.”

It is expected that an OCC charter would lead the companies out of the grey zone, freeing them from the necessity of getting BitLicense equivalents in all 50 US states. However, instead of a full-scale banking charter, Circle may be looking for a “limited-purpose” charter of the kind conceded by the OCC to trust companies or credit-card issuers.

In the future, Circle plans to cover not only payments but lending, investment advice and other financial services, says PYMNTS. Jeremy Allaire, CEO of Circle, believes that the US and other countries should create “national charters for online banking activities”. The first step, according to him, has been made by Europe and China, which already have licences for nondepositary electronic money transfer services.

Circle is the only company that succeeded in obtaining the famous New York BitLicense. In April, it was also granted an electronic money licence from the British Financial Conduct Authority allowing it to introduce bitcoin-fuelled transfers between dollars and British pounds. A partnership with the Barclays bank made possible by the licence gave Circle access to the infrastructure needed to store British pounds and to connect to any bank account in the United Kingdom.


Alexey Tereshchenko