Circle and SBI Holdings partner on USDC distribution, banking and Web3 tech proliferation in Japan
Circle, the leading global financial technology firm and the principal operator of the USDC stablecoin, has announced a strategic partnership with SBI Holdings, one of Japan's largest financial conglomerates. The partnership aims to leverage Circle's expertise in USDC distribution, banking and Web3 technology to accelerate the adoption of digital assets and decentralized finance in the Japanese market.
According to a press release, the partnership will enable SBI Holdings to integrate USDC into its existing products and services, such as its digital asset exchange, SBI VC Trade, and its mobile payment app, MoneyTap. Additionally, SBI Holdings will collaborate with Circle to explore new opportunities for USDC in areas such as lending, yield generation, trade finance and cross-border payments.
USDC is a fully reserved digital dollar stablecoin that is governed by the Centre Consortium, a membership-based organization co-founded by Circle and Coinbase. USDC is supported by hundreds of platforms and applications around the world and has become a trusted and transparent alternative to traditional fiat currencies. As of November 2021, there are over 40 billion USDC in circulation, representing more than 25% of the global stablecoin market.
Circle's CEO and co-founder, Jeremy Allaire, said: "We are thrilled to partner with SBI Holdings, a visionary leader in the Japanese financial industry and a pioneer in digital asset innovation. Together, we will bring the benefits of USDC and Web3 technology to millions of customers and businesses in Japan and help drive the next wave of growth and innovation in the global digital economy."
Press Statement from Circle
In June of this year, the Japanese government laid out a vision for growing the Web3 industry in Japan, and crucially, put into effect new stablecoin laws for both domestic and foreign issued stablecoins. Japan is the first major government in the world with this regulatory clarity in effect. Stablecoins that cannot meet the high standards set out by the JFSA will not be allowed to circulate on Japanese markets.
These changes have dramatically opened up the opportunities for stablecoins and Web3 in the world’s 4th largest economy. The opportunity for Circle and USDC is significant. To seize the opportunity, I am incredibly excited to be working with Chairman of SBI Holdings, Mr. Kitao-san, who is an extraordinary businessman, innovator and leader in Asia and the world.
SBI Holdings operates one of the largest financial conglomerates in Japan, with the largest online retail brokerage, one of the largest digital banks, one of the largest retail FX platforms, a trust bank and more. Importantly, Kitao-san is not a “johnny come lately” to crypto and blockchain tech. He has understood it and invested in it for nearly a decade. SBI Holdings already operates digital asset trading, brokerage and cross-border payments solutions.
Kitao-san and I have a shared vision for what the new internet financial system will look like and the impact it will have on commerce, trade and innovation. What does the partnership exactly look like? Our highest priority together is to bring USDC into the Japan market, in a regulated capacity, following the new JFSA stablecoin laws.
As we have done throughout our history, we will work arm and arm with our partners and local regulators. Once launched, USDC can become a stablecoin on Japan digital asset markets and can be widely used in the on-chain economy growing in Japan as well, across many consumer-led Web3 product categories.
We can also work with the very large established retail and crypto platforms that SBI Group operates to adopt USDC as a new digital dollar. The dollar plays a crucial role in cross-border payments, FX and trading in the Japan market. This will extend into the adoption of digital dollars used on blockchain networks.
Another part of this is bringing direct banking from Japan to Circle’s USDC treasury and settlement operations, which translates to direct and local liquidity between JPY and USDC via the domestic banking system in Japan, building on the recent launch of the same in Singapore, with many more markets coming online soon.
Web3 Apps in Japan We have also seen rapid growth in major consumer-facing companies in Japan looking to launch Web3 apps using digital tokens, smart contracts and self-custody digital wallets. To that end, Circle will also work with SBI to promote the growth and adoption of Circle’s full-stack Web3 Services suite, which provides and end-to-end development, deployment and operations platform for building and operating Web3 apps across chains. Think games, culture and consumer entertainment.
A General Comment on Regulatory Clarity What you’re seeing here are the fruits of major governments who have established regulatory clarity for stablecoins. Good actors, working together, across the traditional and the new internet financial system to advance innovation with strong safeguards and supervision. As this plays out around the world, expect to see many many more major partnerships with established Web2 companies and financial institutions who will make the leap into building and operating in the internet financial system.
SBI Holdings' CEO and founder, Yoshitaka Kitao, said: "We are very excited to partner with Circle, the world's leading provider of USDC and Web3 solutions. We believe that USDC is the most reliable and compliant stablecoin in the market, and that Web3 technology will enable new forms of value creation and exchange in the digital era. By integrating USDC into our platforms and services, we will offer our customers and partners a superior experience and a competitive edge in the Japanese market."