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Circle and SBI Holdings partner to boost USDC circulation in Japan

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Circle, the company behind USD Coin (USDC), is teaming up with Tokyo-based financial services firm SBI Holdings to boost the adoption of USDC and Web3 services in Japan.

Circle said it concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with SBI Holdings on Nov. 27, 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.”

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.

“Japan is steadily preparing the groundwork for the full-scale introduction of stablecoins [and] we are very pleased to have signed a basic agreement for a comprehensive business alliance with Circle.”

Circle CEO Jeremey Allaire added that the partnership “represents a shared vision for the future of digital currency” in Japan and Asia and is a milestone for Circle as part of its expansion plan into the region.

He added that Circle will also work with SBI to promote the adoption of Circle’s full-stack Web3 Services suite, which provides end-to-end development, deployment and operations platforms for building and operating Web3 apps across blockchains. “Think games, culture and consumer entertainment,” Allaire said.

Related: Grab, Uber’s Southeast Asian rival, debuts Web3 services with Circle

“We are excited to collaborate with SBI towards setting new standards in the financial sector in Japan,” Allaire added.

SBI Shinsei Bank, a SBI subsidiary, will provide banking services to Circle to enable USDC access and liquidity for Japan-based businesses and users, according to Circle.

While Circle is based in the United States, 70% of USDC adoption is taking place overseas, Allaire noted in August, with Asia leading the way.

“Demand for safe, transparent digital dollars” is also strong in Latin America and Africa, the Circle boss added.

USDC is currently the second largest stablecoin behind Tether (USDT), with a market cap of $24.6 billion, according to CoinGecko.

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