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Circle and SBI Holdings Join Forces for USDC Expansion in Japan

In a significant move to bolster the adoption of digital assets and Web3 services in Japan, Circle, the company behind the popular USD Coin (USDC), has forged a strategic alliance with Tokyo-based financial services firm SBI Holdings. The collaboration was formalized through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on November 27, marking a pivotal moment for both companies.

This development comes on the heels of the Japanese government’s revision of the Payment Services Act in June, a move aimed at regulating stablecoins. Circle sees these regulations as a catalyst for the increased issuance and circulation of stablecoins in Japan, fostering the country’s transition towards a Web3 economy.

To facilitate the introduction of USDC into Japan, SBI Holdings is actively seeking registration as an electronic payment instruments service, a process subject to approval by Japanese authorities. SBI Holdings CEO and President Yoshitaka Kitao expressed optimism, anticipating that this collaboration would pave the way for widespread stablecoin adoption in the country.

Circle CEO Jeremey Allaire echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the shared vision for the future of digital currency in Japan and Asia. Allaire sees the partnership as a significant milestone in Circle’s expansion strategy for the region. In addition to promoting USDC adoption, the collaboration aims to drive the adoption of Circle’s full-stack Web3 Services suite, catering to the development, deployment, and operations of Web3 applications across various blockchains.

SBI Shinsei Bank, a subsidiary of SBI Holdings, will play a crucial role by providing banking services to Circle. This support is intended to facilitate USDC access and liquidity for businesses and users in Japan.

Highlighting the global nature of the stablecoin landscape, Allaire noted that 70% of USDC adoption occurs overseas, with Asia leading the way. The partnership with SBI Holdings aligns with Circle’s broader mission to set new standards in the financial sector, not only in Japan but globally. As of now, USDC stands as the second-largest stablecoin with a market cap of $24.6 billion, according to CoinGecko, trailing only Tether in market dominance.

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