Circle’s CENTRE Looks to Build on Blockchain

October 10, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Most mobile payment systems have something of a “walled garden” effect going, where users can only work within certain parameters, and some features only work or work best with others using that same platform. CENTRE, from Circle—a blockchain startup operation—may have a way around this, and it partially calls on the etherium cryptocurrency to do at least part of the job.

CENTRE, reports suggest, is looking for a way to better interconnect digital wallet systems from Venmo to Alipay—and even Circle’s own Circle Pay—and let the two pass information and cash around as the users see fit. Circle’s out to build some bridges between these walled gardens, and in the process create what it hopes will be an environment where more users can make connections regardless of type of platform used.

Originally, CENTRE started life as an internal process for making transactions in cryptocurrency and fiat currency—standard government-issue cash like dollars, yen or euros—and has grown from there. It seems to have grown to the point where Circle is looking to put CENTRE directly into the end-users’ hands. It’s set to put CENTRE onto the etherium network, and use its own ERC-20 token known appropriately enough as the CENT. However, that’s not stopping other node operators—apps, banks and beyond—from issuing their own tokens tied to certain fiat currencies to pass cash back and forth.

It’s still very early stages—it only recently had a whitepaper released on the concept—so by the time this actually emerges it could look a lot different. Circle is set to create an entire foundation around this concept, though, and staff it with “several key Circle employees”, so it seems that Circle’s at least getting ready to go live.

If it goes according to plan, then it might be a very big deal, and could potentially open up peer-to-peer (P2P) service among every mobile wallet out there. Theoretically, it could reach the point where someone with Venmo could send a payment to an Apple Pay user just by using CENTRE as the bridge point. If it actually does work like that, it will likely equalize large parts of the market and make itself fairly well indispensable.

Only time will tell just how this development turns out, but it could prove a real game-changer in the mobile payments market.