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Circle just raised a pile of cash to do what every Bitcoin startup out there wants to do: rehabilitate the currency’s image and drive mainstream adoption.

Launching today in closed beta — with a fresh $17 million in its pocket — Circle claims its first consumer product enables “faster transactions, lower costs, greater privacy safeguards and increased protection against fraud and identity theft.” The company plans to provide tools for both consumers and businesses, with the overall goal of reducing “the friction and risk that is currently associated with Bitcoin.”

In other words, Circle’s goals match just about every recently launched Bitcoin startup in existence. It’s one of the many startups itching to serve as trustworthy replacements to companies like Mt. Gox, following a series of disastrous shutdowns over the past few months. Despite the risks involved, interest is extremely high among high-profile investors.

Circle’s fresh round joins GoCoin‘s $1.5 million round today and Kraken’s $5 million round yesterday — among countless other companies which hope to make Bitcoin a truly mainstream currency — although it’s technically not considered a currency in the U.S by the IRS.

With backers like Breyer Capital, Accel Partners, General Catalyst Partners, and Oak Investment Partners, Circle is certainly one of the most newsworthy Bitcoin companies right now, alongside firms like Coinbase and Buttercoin.


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