Circle Begins Putting Reserves Into New BlackRock Fund

Circle Internet Financial has begun moving the reserves for its USDC stablecoin into a dedicated fund set up by BlackRock and registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company disclosed Thursday.

The Circle Reserve Fund – a government money market fund managed by BlackRock Advisors – has been in the works for months after BlackRock initially sought to register it in May. Circle will be its only eligible investor, and the stablecoin issuer has already started putting its reserves there, expecting to be “fully transitioned” by the end of March.

“From the start, we’ve managed the USDC reserve to minimize risk – liquidity, counterparty, operational, reputational and more – so that USDC holders can be confident their money is sound and redeemable 1:1 for U.S. dollars at any time,” the company said in a statement. Placing the assets in a fund overseen by the SEC could further bolster the company’s assertions of safety.

The current circulation of $43.9 billion in USDC is currently backed by $44.1 billion in cash and short-term U.S. government bonds, according to weekly company disclosures. The portfolio of the new fund will also consist of cash and U.S. Treasury bonds.

The new fund’s assets will be held at the Bank of New York Mellon, according to Circle, where the fund will be subject to regulation under the Investment Company Act of 1940, which requires an independent board and daily reports on the portfolio.

Circle had previously begun a financial relationship with BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, when the firm invested in Circle’s funding round announced in April.

Stablecoin issuers have been eagerly awaiting legal guardrails in the U.S., but legislation that would set up the rules failed to reach the finish line this year. Lawmakers in the House Financial Services Committee expect to get back to their bill in the next session, though it could still be months away. Whatever the outcome, policymakers have generally agreed that stablecoins operating in the U.S. will need to be entirely backed by reserves such as U.S. Treasury bonds.