Circle, one of the largest venture capital-backed Bitcoin startups in Europe, officially terminated its Bitcoin trading services and has launched a Bitcoin Blockchain-based remittance and messaging application to serve the unbanked.

In a customer support briefing, the Circle team stated:

“Now we’re making payments more social than ever and diving headfirst into next-gen Blockchain technology, rather than the buying and selling of Bitcoin itself.”

Moving from Bitcoin trading to next-gen technology

In a blog post entitled “Spark, New Markets, App Messaging, and Bitcoin Changes,” Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire and President Sean Neville revealed the company’s plans to move onto next generation technologies built on top of Bitcoin.

The Circle development team will facilitate remittance payments between two of the largest remittance markets in the world: the Philippines and South Korea. New additional features to the Circle mobile application also allows users to send payments with messages, embedding social network features within a Bitcoin wallet.

Circle has long envisioned the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin. This vision led Circle to a strategic partnership with Apple, integrating the Circle Bitcoin wallet service onto the new iOS 10 platform. By essentially integrating a messaging platform within its Bitcoin payment application, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire believes that a larger userbase will be able to maximize the potential and advantages of Bitcoin payments.

“We’ve rolled out new messaging capabilities to all Circle customers across all of our apps on Web, iOS and Android. We’ve long argued that social payments are best experienced in the context of the conversations and interactions we have with friends, colleagues, family members and individual sellers,” said Allaire.

Open source platform spark

Spark is an open source technology set to be released by the Circle team in the upcoming weeks. While the specifications of the technology are still unclear, Allaire explains that it will enable the facilitation and settlement of Bitcoin and other alternative assets.

“[Spark is] a set of protocol additions that provides a way for digital wallets to exchange value using Blockchains, including Bitcoin, as settlement layers,” said Allaire. He further emphasized that Spark will be compliant with current global KYC regulations and policies when facilitating payments.

“The initial focus is on connecting digital wallets around the world while ensuring that full KYC/AML and compliance requirements can be met, and presenting a seamless experience that reflects local currency exchange rates and conversion rule contracts,” Allaire added.

Spark will operate as a viable technology for the settlement of remittances between users in the Philippines and South Korea as the Circle development team suggested, considering that the Blockchain network of Spark will be able to facilitate both Bitcoin and alternative payments.