In brief

  • Circle, the fintech institution that supports USDC, announced new ACH bank transfer payment rails for converting between USDC and USD.
  • Crypto exchange FTX will be one of the first customers to use the new ACH system.
  • The supply of USDC increased 700% in 2020, with no signs of slowing down.

Circle announced today the addition of Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments for USDC dollar-pegged stablecoins to the Circle API, a set of developer tools used to integrate different products and protocols with the USDC stablecoin. US customers use ACH payments to electronically transfer funds between regulated banking institutions, pay bills, and draw from their bank accounts. 

The new option will coexist alongside other ways to send funds to Circle, such as card payments and wire transfers, and should allow businesses to more easily accept and convert bank transfers into USDC and vice versa—sending USDC to arrive as US dollars in customer bank accounts.

Fintech firm Circle and Coinbase are partners in supporting and managing USDC, a cryptocurrency token pegged 1:1 to the US dollar. Compared to the price volatility of other digital assets like Ethereum or Bitcoin, stablecoins are designed to offer crypto traders a safe-harbor holding akin to cash. But as this announcement shows, Circle wants USDC to be a viable option for USD-denominated payments in general.

Crypto exchange FTX has already integrated the new ACH service to facilitate the launch of new cryptocurrency brokerage products. Circle has also partnered with Plaid to enable sign-ins using bank credentials instead of account and routing numbers, further easing onboarding for new customers.

“Circle APIs give us a fast, reliable and trusted infrastructure for connecting customer bank transfers to our new retail products,” FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said in a press release. “And with seamless settlement into USDC across Ethereum and Solana, this gives FTX the ability to offer the fastest possible experience for crypto investors.”

USDC launched in September 2018 and has since become the second-most-popular stablecoin. Its supply of $5.5 billion trails only Tether, which has a supply of more than $25 billion. USDC saw explosive growth last year, with supply growing nearly 700% over the course of 2020.

DeFi has been a catalyst for stablecoin demand, as such currencies are useful for denominating loans backed by crypto deposits and for taking profits after a price spike. DeFi refers to a group of automated blockchain-based protocols designed to offer bank-like services including loans and asset swaps without the use of a centralized authority.

Early uses of USDC’s new ACH capabilities will likely come from the crypto realm, but other businesses could pick up USDC as a transfer option.