Goldman-backed Circle in talks to seek banking license

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Goldman Sachs is displayed in their office located in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

(Reuters) - Blockchain-based payment startup Circle Internet Financial Ltd said it held preliminary talks with U.S. regulators to seek a banking license and provide more financial services to customers.

The Goldman Sachs-backed company told Bloomberg it intends to seek registrations as a brokerage and trading venue with the Securities and Exchange Commission to enable clients buy and sell securities.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase was also in talks to become a SEC-regulated brokerage, the Wall Street Journal had reported in April.

Circle already has an international online money transfer service that allows people in the United States and Europe to send money to each other instantly, free of cost.

The banking license will allow Circle to compete with established financial institutions, and is a part of the overall push by fintech firms to expand their stronghold in traditional banking services by offering low-cost, easy to access products.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber