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Barclays backs social payment app for money transfer

Barclays has become the first major bank in the UK to support a new Android and iPhone application that allows users to transfer currencies through various media using bitcoin.

The app has been created by US-based digital payment company Circle and allows users to send emojis, written messages and even animated GIF videos when they transfer money to recipients.


The Treasury announced that this was the first time that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had approved a licence for a company involved in digital currency. With this, Circle will be able to hold on to its users’ money and help them make international as well as domestic payments.

Circle has received $76 million in venture funding and some of its backers include the Digital Currency Group and Goldman Sachs.

Consumers in the UK using the app will be able to send and receive payments which will be instantly converted between pound sterling and US dollars free of charge. For international payments where Circle is not operating, the transfer will be facilitated using the bitcoin blockchain.


At the moment, Circle is present in 150 countries, and plans are in place to launch the app in continental Europe by the end of 2016.

Barclays will be providing Circle with technical infrastructure to aid transfer from any UK-based bank account into and out of the app.

Treasury Minister, Harriett Baldwin, said that the launch of Circle in the UK and the collaboration with Barclays were important milestones, proving that the government’s decision to launch a progressive regulatory regime is reaping results and cementing the UK’s status as the fintech capital of the world.

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