USDC Issuer Circle’s IPO Journey: Overcoming SEC Scrutiny and Regulatory Hurdles

  • Circle, the issuer behind USDC, is eyeing an initial public offering (IPO).
  • Regulatory scrutiny from the SEC has previously plagued Circle’s public listing efforts.
  • Securities expert Xavier Kowalski highlighted that Circle had addressed SEC queries prior to the collapse of its last public listing attempt.

Circle revives IPO aspirations amidst regulatory complexities and market demand.

Circle’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) Efforts

Circle, the company behind the USD Coin (USDC), recently announced its intention to pursue an initial public offering (IPO). This development comes after a previously aborted attempt to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), which encountered significant regulatory questions from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Previous SPAC Merger and Regulatory Hurdles

Back in July 2021, Circle had embarked on the journey to go public via a merger with Concord Acquisition Corp, a SPAC, only to see the plans fall apart in December 2022. Public records reveal that the SEC had probed Circle on multiple fronts, including the risk of USDC being classified as a security and whether Circle could be deemed an “investment company” rather than an “operating company.” These inquiries posed potential restrictions on their business operations and strategy.

Regulatory Engagements and Path Forward

According to documents obtained by Barron’s, Circle engaged with the SEC for nearly a year regarding their SPAC merger attempt. Despite comprehensive responses to the SEC’s queries, the merger fell apart two months before its proposed completion in October 2022. Securities attorney Xavier Kowalski noted that Circle seemed to have appropriately addressed the regulator’s concerns, positioning itself on the brink of going public before the deal fell through.

Circle’s Renewed IPO Attempt in 2023

In light of these regulatory hurdles, Circle announced in January that it is renewing its efforts to go public, this time opting for a traditional IPO route. CEO Jeremy Allaire has been at the forefront of these initiatives, emphasizing streamlined management. Last year, Circle took over full governance and operational responsibilities for USDC, moving away from the Centre Consortium co-managed structure with Coinbase.

Coinbase Partnership and Strategic Movements

Coinbase, having gone public in April 2021, continues to hold an equity stake in Circle. This collaboration underscores the intertwined fates of the two companies within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Circle aims to leverage this relationship to bolster investor confidence and navigate the regulatory landscape more effectively.


As Circle re-embarks on its journey to go public, it faces a complex regulatory environment but is better prepared than ever. The company’s previous interactions with the SEC and strategic operational shifts signal its commitment to achieving a successful IPO. Investors and market watchers will be keenly observing how Circle navigates these challenges and seizes opportunities within the rapidly evolving financial landscape.

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Gideon Wolf
Gideon Wolf
GideonWolff is a 27-year-old technical analyst and journalist with extensive experience in the cryptocurrency industry. With a focus on technical analysis and news reporting, GideonWolff provides valuable insights on market trends and potential opportunities for both investors and those interested in the world of cryptocurrency.

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