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Circle, SBI Holdings Partner to Boost USDC Banking, Web3 Services in Japan

MOU signed between Circle and SBI Holdings set to transform Japan's financial landscape and boost circulation of USDC

Photo by David Edelstein / Unsplash

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In a move set to redefine Japan's financial landscape, stablecoin issuer Circle and Japanese financial industry powerhouse SBI Holdings have announced a strategic partnership that could revolutionize the use of digital assets and usher in the era of Web3 services in Japan.

At the heart of this collaboration is the wide-scale adoption of the US Dollar Coin (USDC). The integration of the stablecoin, issued by Circle and pegged to the US dollar, into the Japanese financial ecosystem aims to unlock numerous opportunities. These include simplifying cross-border transactions, enhancing liquidity in the digital asset market, and introducing innovative financial products and services, Circle said in an announcement.

Going beyond USDC, Circle and SBI Holdings have their sights set on Web3 services. SBI Group will also adopt Circle’s Web3 Services solutions such as Programmable Wallet, blockchain infrastructure and smart contract management tools.

“Our 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,” Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder of Circle, said.

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Japan's Web3 Focus

Since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s appointment in October last year, Japan has been trying to drive web3 adoption. The country recently established a Web3 policy office under the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).

Kishida said in a speech delivered before Japan’s National Diet that the country would be promoting a slew of Web3 services as part of its broader efforts to ramp up investments in digital transformation. He also stressed that the cabinet would “promote efforts to expand the use of Web 3.0 services that utilize the metaverse and NFTs.”

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The Japanese government then revised the Payment Services Act (the Revised Payment Services Act) in June 2023 to establish regulations for stablecoins. The regulation is expected to stimulate the issuance and circulation of stablecoins in Japan and advance Japan’s transition towards a Web3 economy.

Stablecoin Competition

USDC currently has a market capitalization of $24.65 trillion, trailing market leader USDT's $88.8 trillion. Its share of the market, which hovers around 20%, peaked in mid-2022 but has been falling steadily since its de-peg in March 2023, triggered by the insolvency of Silicon Valley Bank.