BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has invested in a US$400m funding round to help support USDC and has partnered with the stablecoin’s issuer Circle. Not small.

While we were busy looking into Cricket Australia NFTs earlier, the news was, ahem, circulating via a press release that BlackRock “has entered into a broader strategic partnership with Circle”. And that reportedly includes “exploring capital-market applications for USDC.”

With more than 50.6 billion coins in circulation across numerous blockchains, USDC is the second-most widely used stablecoin behind Tether USDT (82.7 billion tokens circulating).

Circle Internet Financial confirmed that the US$400 million raise also included investments from other investment-banking bigshots Fidelity, Marshall Wace LLP and Fin Capital.

Circle previously raised $440 million in a funding round last May, as reported by CoinDesk. That round’s backing also came from Fidelity and Marshall Wace and a host of other big investors.

“This funding round will drive the next evolution of Circle’s growth,” said Circle’s CEO and co-founder Jeremy Allaire.

Circle also has plans for an initial public offering (IPO) and is in the midst of a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) merger agreement with Concord Acquisition. This is currently delayed till likely the end of this year.

The latest funding round is expected to close in the second quarter.


Also making news: Pantera Capital doubles its funding target

Crypto-focused hedge-fund giant Pantera Capital (more than US$5.8 billion in assets under management) is on track to close a massive blockchain fund next month backed by about US$1.3 billion worth of capital.

That’s more than double the initial US$600m target the firm earmarked when it began fundraising for this back in November.

This fund is investing in crypto startup projects, early-stage tokens and digital tokens “with established liquidity levels”. Meanwhile Pantera also has further blockchain-focused funds in the planning stages, including a US$200 million one focused on “more mature, revenue-generating” crypto companies.