I have been looking forward to the launch of Circle with whatever service they will offer. Now they have released some information on what they want to do:
This looks like an online wallet. Right now, the largest provider for this kind of service is blockchain.info.
Circle offers some things blockchain.info does not. The most interesting is that they link credit cards to their service. People can move funds from credit cards to their Circle account and back. You can’t do that with blockchain.info.
In contrast, as far as I can see from that youtube video, Circle is not interested in offering money laundering services. Blockchain.info is doing exactly that with their “Send Shared” option.
While such a service does have legitimate uses, it is clear that criminals who are interested in abusing the Bitcoin network for money laundering will use this kind of service.
It is open to debate why exactly offering this kind of service is not illegal under existing money laundering laws. I won’t discuss this in detail here, but I think blockchain.info is taking a large risk.
Anyway, I can’t see any such service offered at Circle. I for one think that’s a good thing. The governments of the world will decide over the next couple of years if they want to shut the Bitcoin network down while it is still small enough to do so. Poking a stick in their eye like blockchain.info does will not help in the discussions of this issue at the FATF.
In contrast, having Circle make it very clear that they are taking their responsibility to prevent money laundering seriously will.
I have requested an invite.