Circle, a global financial technology firm that provides payments and treasury infrastructure for internet businesses, introduced a comprehensive payments solution for non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces and storefronts that enables them to accept credit card and crypto payments alike in order to attract more mainstream audience adoption. Circle today also unveiled forthcoming features that will be made available over the coming months, including support USDC, BTC and ETH payments, NFT custodial services, and yield-generating Circle accounts for NFT market operators.
NFT marketplaces have surged in popularity over the past 12 months, but broad-based mainstream adoption is lagging due to the complexity of payment transactions, which usually require the use of cryptocurrencies. Circle’s NFT solution simplifies buying and selling by enabling platforms to accept credit card payments alongside crypto, all with a seamless user experience. This makes NFT transactions easier by encouraging greater engagement, platform expansion and support for creators worldwide through the marriage of traditional payment rails and leading digital dollar stablecoin USD Coin (USDC).
NFTs have seen a meteoric rise in recent months – as platforms like NBA Top Shot skyrocket in popularity (Top Shot has seen a 400% increase in sales over the past 30 days) and digital art becomes mainstream (iconic auction house Christie’s recently offered the first purely digital artwork with the auction of Beeple’s Everydays for $69M). In February 2021 alone, sales volume across major NFT marketplaces grew nearly 800%, to more than $200M.
“This is not only an important and valuable trend for marketplaces and creators, it represents incredible demand from customers – for collectibles, artwork, moments, and really anything that can be tokenized on the blockchain,” said Jeremy Allaire, Circle Co-founder and CEO. “Circle looks forward to supporting the industry – creators, platforms, marketplaces, storefronts and customers – with our solution for enabling a user-friendly, mainstream payments experience with the power of crypto connectivity and USDC.”
With Circle’s payments and treasury infrastructure, NFT marketplaces and storefronts can create a seamless user experience for buyers and sellers alike:
- Build upon Circle’s Payments, Payouts and Digital Dollar Accounts APIs to process transactions and use the Circle Account to maintain a scalable treasury infrastructure on the backend, making platform management easier than ever.
- Choose to offer traditional and crypto payment options, or abstract crypto entirely from the user – all in service of greater convenience and efficiency alike.
Over the coming months, Circle plans to release a range of features aimed at NFT marketplaces, storefronts and platforms:
- Support for BTC & ETH payments. NFT markets will be able to easily accept BTC and ETH as payment and payout methods, allowing both crypto HODLers and new mainstream users to pay with fiat and crypto.
- Storage, Custody and Transfer of NFT assets. Circle’s digital asset account infrastructure and APIs will enable NFT markets and properties to easily store NFT assets with best-in-class digital asset custody services, while also enabling their customers to transfer standard NFTs in and out of their markets and services.
- Treasury and Yield Services. NFT markets are digital asset native businesses, and with funds and treasury accounts held with Circle, NFT developers can take advantage of Circle’s new high-yield digital dollar accounts*, enabling idle working capital to earn between 4-8% APY on USDC.
These new areas of focus are just the beginning as Circle continues to build and partner with the leading projects, developers and brands that are innovating in the NFT commerce space.
This comes at a time of explosive growth for USDC, whose market cap is more than $10B and has more than doubled in 2021 alone. Dollar stablecoins like USDC have quickly become the preferred currency of NFT marketplaces and storefronts as they offer a convenient funding source for end users as well as the ability to streamline their operations and stay crypto-native as needed. In the future, Circle plans to expand its roadmap by accepting ETH payments as well as providing custody for NFTs.