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Market Extra: Cathie Wood’s ARK ETF buys into SPAC linked to stablecoin operator Circle

Cathie Wood's ARK Invest buys shares of the special-purpose acquisition company that is merging with Circle, one of the biggest stablecoin backers. Read More...

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of shares and the total dollar amount invested in Concord Acquisition Corp., by Ark Investment Management’s ARK Fintech Innovation ETF. The error has been corrected.

Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest has purchased shares of the special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, that is merging with Circle, one of the biggest stablecoin companies in crypto.

Circle is planning to go public, after the provider of payments and treasury infrastructure to internet companies, announced in the summer its plans to merge with SPAC Concord Acquisition Corp. CND, +0.20%

Wood’s ARK Fintech Innovation ETF ARKF, -0.99% purchased 69,300 shares of the SPAC for $705, 820, representing a new position for the fund.

The merger of Circle, co-founded and run by CEO Jeremy Allaire, and Concord was expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2021, with the combined entity slated to list on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “CRCL.” 

Circle is the principal operator of the stablecoin, USD Coin, which is a digital asset pegged to dollar and intended to hold its value, serving as a “stable” asset in the world of virtual coin’s such as bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.69% and Ether ETHUSD, -0.60% on the Ethereum network that are notoriously volatile.

Circle’s USD Coin USDCUSD, is the sixth largest digital asset by market value among crypto and the second largest stablecoin, behind Tether USDTUSD, +0.01%. USD accounts for approximately a third of the stablecoin supply.

However, stablecoins have drawn scrutiny from U.S. financial regulators who say the assets may pose a risk to the financial system if not properly regulated.

Last month, the Financial Stability Oversight Council, or FSOC, said in a report that “if stablecoins are marketed with the claim that they will maintain a stable value, they may be subject to widespread redemptions and asset liquidations if investors doubt the credibility of that claim.”

Back in October, Circle said that it received an “investigative subpoena” during the summer from the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting “documents and information regarding certain of our holdings, customer programs, and operations,” in a filing. “We are cooperating fully with their investigation,” Circle said. 

Shares of Concord Acquisition, which is backed by former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, closed Thursday trade down 0.5% and is flat for the week so far but down 3.2% so far in 2022. By comparison, The ARK Fintech ETF ended Thursday off 5.2% and was looking at a 3% weekly slide and an over 13% decline in the first two weeks of the year, thus far, FactSet data show.

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