Circle, the stablecoin issuer behind USD Coin (USDC), has officially declared the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SBI Holdings on the 27th of November, which will underpin the strategic expansion of USDC into Japan.
It comes as the Japanese government revised the Payment Services Act in June to establish regulations for stablecoins, which Circle believes will “stimulate the issuance and circulation of stablecoins in Japan and advance Japan’s transition towards a Web3 economy.”
However, the deployment of USDC within Japan is contingent upon SBI Holdings securing governmental approval to establish itself as a legal electronic payment service provider.
Jeremy Allaire, the Chief Executive Officer of Circle, articulates the collaboration as emblematic of a shared vision for the future of digital currency in Japan and Asia, marking a noteworthy milestone in Circle’s expansion strategy into the Japanese market.
To initiate the circulation of USDC into Japan, SBI Holdings is seeking registration as an electronic payment instruments service, which is subject to approval by Japanese authorities.
SBI Holdings CEO and President Yoshitaka Kitao hopes it will be a step toward mass stablecoin adoption in the country.
At present, USDC holds the position of the second-largest stablecoin globally, trailing only Tether (USDT), with a market capitalization of $24.6 billion. Circle has been actively engaging in collaborations with established entities, such as FamilyMart and Grab, to augment USDC’s market presence.
Conversely, SBI Holdings, a financial services conglomerate headquartered in Japan, recently established a substantial investment fund valued at $663 million. This fund is earmarked for initiatives related to web3, artificial intelligence (AI), and the metaverse.
Over the preceding year, Japan has enacted a series of crypto-friendly policies, encompassing sponsorship for metaverse and NFT projects, the removal of restrictions on foreign-issued stablecoins, tax exemptions for token issuers, and the authorization of capital mobilization through cryptocurrency.
Subsequent to these policy shifts, numerous entities have embarked on strategic initiatives within this domain. Binance has expressed its intention to introduce a stablecoin, Animoca Brands has forged a collaboration with Cool Cats for web3 integration, the Osaka Exchange has inaugurated the first trading platform for “tokenized securities,” and Nomura, Japan’s foremost investment bank, has launched a Bitcoin fund.