USDC Aims to be Big in Japan

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  • Circle has partnered with SBI Holdings to promote the adoption of USDC and web3 services in Japan
  • The collaboration aims to stimulate stablecoin issuance and circulation in Japan, fostering the transition to a web3 economy.
  • Initial efforts will concentrate on enhancing USDC circulation and expanding stablecoin usage in Japan

Stablecoin issuer Circle has announced that it has teamed up with Japanese financial services firm SBI Holdings to boost the adoption of USDC and web3 services in the country. Circle revealed on Monday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SBI Holdings which it hopes will “stimulate the issuance and circulation of stablecoins in Japan and advance Japan’s transition towards a Web3 economy.” The pair will initially work on increasing the circulation of USDC and expanding the use of stablecoins in Japan in line with regulations.

Circle Takes Advantage of New Laws

Circle’s move into Japan comes five months after the Japanese government amended the Payment Services Act which established comprehensive regulations for stablecoins. The Act introduces a category of stablecoins termed “collateralized,” which are backed by legal tender.

This applies to Circle, which is provably backed with cash and cash-equivalent assets, ensuring a constant 1-to-1 redeemability for US dollars. This is in contrast to the likes of Tether, which is yet to undergo a full external audit.

Initially, Circle and SBI Holdings will focus on getting USDC a footing in Japan as the dominant stablecoin, with both parties stating their commitment “properly complying with stablecoin-related regulations, including communication with authorities.”

Web3 Future for Japan

The rollout will be handled by SBI VC Trade Co., Ltd., which is actively seeking registration as an electronic payment instruments service. Meanwhile, SBI Shinsei Bank has pledged to provide banking services to Circle, ensuring accessibility and liquidity for USDC within Japan.

Additionally, as part of SBI Group’s digital asset portfolio strategy, the group will incorporate Circle’s web3 Services solutions, encompassing the Programmable Wallet, blockchain infrastructure, and smart contract management tools.

Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder of Circle, said in a press release that the partnership with SBI Holdings “represents a shared vision for the future of digital currency and is a significant milestone in Circle’s expansion plans in Japan and Asia Pacific.”

Similarly, Yoshitaka Kitao, Representative Director, Chairman, President & CEO of SBI Holdings, echoed this sentiment, saying, “SBI Group is committed to wholeheartedly working towards realizing new financial possibilities using stablecoins.”

The deal comes three months after Circle signed a deal with Visa to explore USDC payments on the Solana blockchain.