Plugging in to Circle.com
This article is one of a set of short briefing notes for any treasury manager, CFO, company director or compliance officer to get smart quick on how Circle.com’s USDC free and paid services function. We’ve been there, seen it, built it, and we’re happy to share.
How long does it take to get access?
When we set up our paid Circle.com API account it took us a couple of months (a short journal or our signup, as a Fund using Circle, is included at the end of this article). That was a more than a year ago and Circle now tell us it takes about a month to run through the full process and be up and running with a live account.
You or your team can then send postman based commands to move money check balances etc. While you are waiting for access you can use their sandbox to build more robust tools. Or you can (product plug incoming) simply use www.bridgeforcircle.com which will get you up and running, keep compliance records of all transactions, and manage your treasury team’s access for you until you are ready to plug in your own platform.
Some lessons we learnt that you can now avoid:
When using either the free or paid services for Circle.com there are a couple of key things you need to bear in mind:
- Circle accepts deposits of any Token but only processes USDC. We cannot stress enough that if you send another currency they cannot retrieve it or send it back. It is lost in purgatory. Circle are working on freeing these lost tokens but that “we’re working on it” has still not freed our lost DAI transfer from early 2021!
- Bank deposits to Circle.com are only visible through Circle. As you haven’t chosen which chain to move your money to, it sits in Circle’s wallet infrastructure until you send it somewhere. While it is in this state you suffer counter-party risk from Circle — ie if Circle ceases to trade you would not be able to access your funds.
When using the paid Circle.com API services:
- Circle’s APIs are not wholistic — some transactions are not reported back via the API. A key example of this is if you pay your Circle invoice using their quick links on their interface. If you do this the payment will be deducted from your Prime Wallet total but will not appear in any of the interfaces ledger views — to do a proper reconciliation you will need to request an account summary from Circle which they make available via secure ATP. To keep our records straight we pay our fees by USD bank transfer from the Circle API to Circle’s Silicon Valley Bank Account.
- All USD deposits, those from your bank or from your customers bank accounts, arrive in your Prime Wallet. You will need add rules based forwarding to automatically deposit them in designated sub-wallets.
- You cannot label transactions with meta-data so you will need to store these in your own database of transactions.
- Transaction fees are applied as and when the API feels like it. They are all billed to the Prime account, but they may arrive before a transaction is confirmed, shortly after it, or sometime later, when you may have made multiple other transactions which have settled, and may have already been billed.
When using the SandBox:
Circle’s sandbox does a pretty good job of replicating the live environment.
- It is not always as fast as live
- It is a reliable way to build out infrastructure and good for testing.
- It is not suitable for edge case scenarios because you cannot break it in on purpose (as lots of firms are using it) in order to check what happens to your app when Circle.com is broken!
- Even with training, it is unlikely that your expert user will want to test things like bank or crypto deposits; simply put, they need low level technical support or equivalent expertise to create these deposits in Sandbox.
Overall, the support given by Circle is far superior to that provided by Amazon (Seller Central) and similar to that provided by SAP, and far better than any retail bank our team has worked with in the past. It is in constant change of improvement, which can add to development time and cost, but each change that we have experienced has improved the service for all.
Our Journey with Circle
We’ve been using Circle.com’s free services since January 8th 2021 for our Inventory Financing Company www.databasedfinance.com
Their IT team and compliance group have always been super supportive and for our API app www.bridgeforcircle.com we have a dedicated slack support channel and an account manager with Circle
We started playing with Circle.com’s API sandbox in July 2021 (this mimics the live paid service for testing and for your IT team to get up to speed and you to test against when they have built you something awesome)
We completed our Flow of Funds Documentation with the Circle team on 9th October 2021. This process started when we asked for an API account so gives you some (rather outdated) idea on the time it takes to pass through more stringent Anti-Money-Laundering. (Editor’s note: BridgeforCircle has a new customer who’s free account went live on 19th September 2022. They just applied for a full API account, we will update this article when they are granted API access for more useful info on time to pass AML/KYC. Circle currently estimate it takes a month to go through the full process, from new joiner to live access to their APIs for transactions)
Thank you for reading this article. If you happened upon it, it is the last in a series (links below) which may also be of interest:
- 1.01 Circle.com; your company’s best option for getting into crypto?
- 1.02 Does your company need to upgrade to Circle.com’s paid services
- 1.03 How does the paid service from Circle.com work
- 1.04 Circle.com; Operational Risk and Security
- 1.05 What you need to know before you jump into using a Circle.com account; Timeline and Short Falls (You just read me — thanks!)
We buy Amazon Seller inventory www.databasedfinance.com
We use Circle.com to manage inflowing funds from our pool of funders, to make our inventory purchases directly with our customers (via USD bank transfers), and to receive all our sales fees.
Our IT services subsidiary has built a ‘Banking Front End’ for Circle’s API’s — this is now available for 30 days free trial use by any company that has API access to Circle at www.bridgeforcircle.com — simply register, paste your Circle Key and inform Circle you are using our App to connect.