Allison Kaufman, Solutions Engineer at Circle – Interview Series
Allison Kaufman is a Solutions Engineer at Circle. Circle helps internet businesses accept payments and send payouts globally in one unified platform and are currently best known for the USDC stablecoin that represents a major breakthrough in how enterprises use money on the internet.
When did you initially discover blockchain technology?
I first discovered blockchain technology when I was studying at Boston University in 2014. I was studying Computer Science, so I knew a lot of people interested in cryptocurrency. I read up on Bitcoin and the principles of blockchain, but it wasn't until I applied to Circle last year that I became more invested in the idea.
Upon joining Circle, I started to understand how valuable blockchain technology can be. I was pretty entrenched in the traditional finance world, and investing in cryptocurrency was still seen as something risky and inaccessible.
However, I quickly realized through the people I spoke with who have partnered with Circle that, to a lot of communities, the traditional finance world is even more inaccessible than the crypto world. Making it easier and simpler for people to get involved with blockchain technology is opening up a lot of opportunities for people that just couldn’t exist outside of the crypto world, and it’s one of the main reasons why I was so excited to become a part of the Circle team.
You’re a Solutions Engineer at Circle, what does this role entail?
As a Solutions Engineer, I help potential partners of Circle figure out how to best utilize Circle’s products and capabilities, and help current partners with the integration process.
I create flows mapping out the use of our API products for a variety of use cases, from institutional traders, to NFT marketplaces, to peer-to-peer payments apps. Some of these companies are crypto-native, and some of them are dipping their toes into the world of blockchain for the first time.
Every day we see a new use case, so it keeps me on my toes figuring out how to best support everyone!
What are some of the interesting software solutions that Circle is currently working on?
Our API products are super exciting to me because I think they’re a really comprehensive way to bring the traditional and crypto worlds together.
We offer a suite of API products that allow businesses to build an end-to-end solution for accepting payments, custody management, and paying back out to users.
The design is really up to the business, so they get to build a fully integrated solution that’s easy and fast for both crypto-savvy users and users who want to stay within traditional finance. That means crypto-native businesses can expand their model to reach a wider audience, and businesses using traditional rails can start gaining access to all of the benefits of blockchain technology.
What are some of the API solutions?
Circle offers three main API products today: Payments, Digital Dollar Accounts, and Payouts.
The Payments solution allows businesses to accept credit/debit card, ACH, and wire payments, along with USDC payments, from their users. The Payments API is really meant to break down any barriers between our business partners and their customers, allowing them to target crypto-enthusiasts and crypto-phobes alike.
The Digital Dollar Accounts API enables businesses to easily custody USDC on behalf of their end-users and manage their funds for investments, peer-to-peer transactions, and more. These accounts are at the heart of NFT marketplace solutions, crypto-investment applications, and remittance platforms.
The Payouts product is the opposite of our Payments product – it allows businesses to send out the USDC they’re holding in Circle, again via either the blockchain or traditional methods like wires and ACH. This completes the end-to-end solution for bridging the traditional and crypto worlds.
People around the world can send and receive money however they choose to, and do what they want with it in a fast and transparent way.
What are your views on the future of digital assets and digital securities?
I really think it’s only a matter of time before digital assets become the new normal for how people buy, sell, trade, invest, etc. It’s the answer to a lot of tough questions that are being asked of the traditional finance world today.
Why are my payments taking so long? Where is my money? When can I get paid? These are all questions that I’m pretty sure most people have had to ask at one time or another. And for a long time, we all had to be satisfied with long wait times, a lack of transparency, and very few options for how we handle our money.
But with digital assets and securities, that’s changing rapidly. Sure, it may take some time before we get the world on board with crypto – it’s still pretty new in the grand scheme of things, and that can be rightfully scary for a lot of people. That’s why I think stablecoins like USDC are so powerful – they’re a great gateway into the world of crypto for a lot of people.
You’ll be a speaker at the upcoming Security Token Summit, what will you be discussing?
I’ll be discussing a partnership between Circle and Ownera, focusing on how our Circle’s APIs fit into Ownera’s new FinP2P protocol, an open-source protocol that interconnects financial institutions to enable digital securities.
We’ll be discussing the benefits of using digital securities at an institutional level, including the instant settlement times for transfers of USDC (both on and off the blockchain). I’ll also be answering questions about Circle’s API capabilities and how integrating with Circle and USDC can benefit these institutions.
Ownera’s desire to bring financial institutions into the world of blockchain is right in line with Circle’s vision for the future, and we’re excited to discuss more about how Ownera’s protocol, and stablecoins such as USDC, can help achieve it.
Is there anything else that you would like to share about Circle?
USDC is growing rapidly, and Circle is putting out new products and features at the same pace. We have some really exciting offerings coming up, from our partnership with Visa that will allow us to make paying out from USDC even smoother, to our Yield product that will allow users to earn interest on USDC right in their Circle Account.
There’s really something for everyone and every business model – both traditional and crypto- native. I encourage people to keep a close lookout for Circle’s name in the future as we continue to grow!
Thank you for the great interview, to learn more readers should visit Circle.
If readers wish to hear Allison Kaufman speak to discuss the partnership between Circle and Ownera they should attend the Security Token Summit.
The Security Token summit will stream live on Securities.io: