Circle acquisition of Poloniex is just the beginning of likely consolidation in crypto

By: Evelyn Cheng

News Monday that digital payments company Circle has bought cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex is stirring speculation of more acquisitions in the young digital currency world.

“I think this is a really good sign for the industry. It shows that a lot of companies are going to start consolidating and that will bring [out] the best talent,” said Erik Voorhees, an early investor in bitcoin who is now CEO of digital asset exchange ShapeShift. “I think you’re going to see a lot of that in 2018. These companies have so much capital at this point.”

Venture capitalists and other early stage investors put $1.06 billion into the crypto-economy in 2017, according to Lex Sokolin, global director of fintech strategy at financial research firm Autonomous Next. For the year so far, such investments stand at $323 million.

Investment in crypto-economy ($ millions)

Source: Autonomous Next

The entire cryptocurrency market capitalization has also grown from around $20 billion at the start of last year to around $500 billion in the last few weeks, according to Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is up several hundred percent over the last 12 months and was trading near $10,000 Monday.

“These markets are still in their infancy but they hold enormous promise,” Circle co-founder and CEO Jeremy Allaire told CNBC in a phone interview Monday. “There’s going to be a huge amount of value creation.”

“Maybe the first $1 trillion company in the world will be created in this space,” he said.

Goldman Sachs and China-focused investment firm IDG Capital Partners are investors in Circle, which has raised a total of $136 million and has a valuation of at least $420 million, according to PitchBook.


There’s a $799 hack-proof smartphone designed to keep your cryptocurrencies safe


by Arjun Kharpal

February 27, 2018

A smartphone designed to keep cryptocurrencies like bitcoin safe was unveiled on Tuesday.

German cybersecurity firm Sikur launched the $799 SIKURPhone at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Key features include:

  • 5.5-inch full high definition display
  • 13 megapixel rear camera

But the standout feature for the device is the in-built cryptocurrency wallet. A wallet is a piece of software required to hold cryptocurrencies.

Security of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets has been in the spotlight recently. A recent incident saw hackers steal over $500 million from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.

The cryptocurrency market has exploded with a value of over $460 billion, from just $21.4 billion a year ago, according to data from

Sikur said it put its device to the test by hiring professional hackers to attack the device. The company claims the smartphone was subjected to “rigorous hacking tests for two months,” but hackers failed to gain access to any information.

“At the end of second quarter of 2018 we will deliver a crypto wallet inside our platform, expanding the wallet use beyond SIKURPhone, it means that our customers should be able, through a physical device, to securely store their cryptocoins,” Cristiano Lop, Sikur’s CEO, told CNBC by email.

The SIKURPhone will be available in a pre-sale on February 27 at a price of $799, and the first units will be delivered in August 2018. Only 20,000 units will be available at this price.