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USDC will soon be available on 13 different networks and have a new bridging protocol

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(Kitco News) - It has been a busy week for the crypto market's second leading stablecoin USD Coin (USDC) amid a global push for crypto regulations and the development of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). 

On the development front, USDC issuer Circle has launched a cross-chain transfer protocol in a bid to support interoperability for the stablecoin. The new product was unveiled at the company’s inaugural crypto conference in San Francisco on Wednesday and is expected to go live on the Ethereum and Avalanche networks later this year. 

The permissionless protocol will enable USDC to be sent natively across various networks, helping to improve its liquidity and reduce the fragmentation of bridged assets.

"Users today have limitations when transferring USDC across blockchain ecosystems," the company said. "Existing solutions typically require locking up USDC on one chain and creating a synthetic 'bridged' version of USDC on another – creating fragmented liquidity and a complicated user experience."

The new transfer protocol will address this issue and help to create an interconnected ecosystem of networks where developers can launch all manner of crypto projects. 

“Cross-Chain Transfer Protocol is composable, empowering developers to build new experiences that stack together the various functionalities and benefits of trading, payments, NFTs, gaming and more,” Circle said. “Upon launch, developers will be able to use Circle APIs for fiat on/off-ramps to and from USDC in their products, as well as programmable wallets infrastructure.”

Perfectly aligning with this announcement was the revelation that USDC will be adding support for five additional blockchain networks in the coming months: Arbitrum, Cosmos, NEAR, Optimism and Polkadot. 

According to Joao Reginatto, VP of Product at Circle, “The multi-chain expansion is intended to increase USDC’s native availability from eight ecosystems to thirteen, and enables blockchain developers building on USDC and their users to experience greater liquidity and interoperability within the crypto economy.” 

It also fosters an atmosphere of innovation around USDC as all manner of entities looking to harness the capabilities of a reliable stablecoin can now choose from a wider range of available networks. 

“Extending multi-chain support for USDC opens the door for institutions, exchanges, developers and more to innovate and have easier access to a trusted and stable digital dollar,” Joao said. 

Crypto in your 401(k)? A grace period for crypto exchanges? There are bills for that.

Circle acquires Elements

To help with its current endeavors, Circle announced on Thursday that it has acquired the payment services firm Element to help with scaling its offerings. 

The goal of the acquisition is to lower the barrier of entry for merchants looking to access the next generation of payments.

"With Circle, we knew the natural synergy in our business models would create an opportunity to deliver a seamless and low-cost payment and settlement experience for merchants using a digital currency they can trust,” Elements founder and CEO Nafis Jamal said in a statement.

Circle also announced a strategic partnership with Robinhood this week that involves integrating with USDC. 

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