Circle and SBI Holdings Join Forces to Introduce USDC in Japan

Circle, the stablecoin issuer responsible for USD Coin (USDC), has partnered with Tokyo-based financial services firm SBI Holdings to promote the adoption of USDC and Web3 services in Japan. The collaboration, outlined in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on November 27, aligns with Japan’s revised Payment Services Act, which regulates stablecoins.

Circle anticipates that these regulations will encourage the use of stablecoins in Japan, facilitating the country’s transition towards a Web3 economy. SBI Holdings is actively pursuing registration as an electronic payment instruments service to facilitate the introduction of USDC into Japan, pending approval from Japanese authorities.

What you need to know

In June, Japan revised its Payment Services Act to support the transition to a Web3 economy and the widespread adoption of virtual currencies. The act allows for the use of “collateralized” stablecoins backed by legal tender. Circle and SBI Holdings are collaborating to launch USDC in Japan. It also paved the way for the USDC Wallet to  ensure compliance with the country’s stablecoin regulations.

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The partnership aims to introduce USDC on various retail and crypto platforms, with SBI Holdings working towards adopting USDC as a new digital dollar. The collaboration is notable for the extensive experience of SBI Holdings’ Chairman, Yoshitaka Kitao, in the digital asset field. However, SBI Holdings must first register with Japanese authorities as an electronic payment instruments service provider before introducing USDC in the country.

            “We are thrilled to partner with SBI to establish new benchmarks in Japan’s financial sector,” commented Allaire. As part of the collaboration, SBI Shinsei Bank, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, will offer banking services to Circle. This support aims to facilitate access to USDC and enhance liquidity for businesses and users in Japan, as outlined by Circle.

            Even though Circle is headquartered in the United States, Allaire highlighted in August that 70% of USDC adoption is occurring internationally, with Asia at the forefront of this trend. He emphasized the strong demand for secure and transparent digital dollars, particularly in regions like Latin America and Africa.

            As of now, USDC holds the position of the second-largest stablecoin globally, following Tether (USDT), with a market capitalization of $24.6 billion, according to CoinGecko.

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Japan’s updated Payment Services Act in June marked a significant step toward embracing a Web3 economy and the widespread use of virtual currencies. The collaboration between Circle and SBI Holdings aims to introduce USDC in Japan, complying with stablecoin regulations and providing a gateway through the USDC Wallet. Looking forward, the distribution of tokens, valued at $500 million, is set for December 1, benefiting investors, founders, and employees. This collective effort reflects the evolving landscape of digital currencies and the ongoing commitment to advancing financial technologies in Japan.

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