At this week’s Bitcoin 2014 Conference in Amsterdam, digital payment company Circle launched its first Bitcoin-centric payment service to the public. Announced with a mission to “reduce friction” in the use of the rising currency, Circle’s offering, currently in invite-only mode, has been designed to enable instant Bitcoin transfers for novices, without charging customers a penny.
The free service’s main goal is to separate its customers from the sometimes-confusing buying and selling aspects of the Bitcoin marketplace. Instead, it asks users to connect their debit and credit accounts to Circle, at which point Circle will handle instant conversions of local currency to and from Bitcoin. From there, users can spend and transfer their Bitcoins through the site, PayPal-style. Also, if you shop at an online merchant that supports Bitcoin, Circle will pick up those sites’ Bitcoin links to cleanly handle the payments.
As of right now, Circle takes no percentage of such exchanges, nor does it charge users a percentage to make purchases or transfer funds to other users. The announcement also comes with a giant bullet-point list of security and insurance moves on Circle’s part, including offline currency vaults, no-cost theft insurance, American financial rules compliance, and “armed guards.”
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