The Circle Pressroom

Press Release
November 26, 2023

SBI Holdings Partners with Circle to Pioneer Digital Currency Innovation in Japan with USDC, Banking, and Web3 Services

TOKYO, Japan, November 27, 2023 — SBI Holdings, Inc. (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, Chairman, President & CEO Yoshitaka Kitao; hereinafter “the Company”) hereby announces that it has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (hereinafter “the MOU”) with Circle Internet Financial (Head Office: Boston, Massachusetts, United States; Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO: Jeremy Allaire; hereinafter “Circle” ) a global financial technology firm and the issuer of USDC, the world’s largest regulated stablecoin, to circulate USDC stablecoins, establish a banking relationship and promote the use of Circle’s Web3 Services in Japan.


As a global leader in the digital asset economy, the Japanese government revised the Payment Services Act (the Revised Payment Services Act), on June 3, 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.


The Revised Payment Services Act establishes “collateralized” stablecoins that are backed by legal tender. Circle’s USDC goes a step further because they are backed 100% by highly liquid cash and cash-equivalent assets and are always redeemable 1 to 1 for U.S. dollars. USDC reserves are held separately from Circle’s operating funds at leading financial institutions for the benefit of USDC holders. As of 17 November 2023, there has been over $12.7 trillion of on-chain USDC transactions.


The companies have signed an MOU underpinning the work ahead, which includes SBI Group and Circle initially working towards the circulation of USDC and expanding the use of stablecoins in Japan. SBI Group and Circle have also committed to properly complying with stablecoin-related regulations, including communication with authorities. To circulate USDC stablecoins within Japan, SBI VC Trade Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Tomohiko Kondo) is seeking registration as an electronic payment instruments service, which is subject to approval by the authorities.


SBI Shinsei Bank, Limited (Head Office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President and Chief Executive Officer: Katsuya Kawashima) will also provide banking services to Circle. This will enable USDC access and liquidity for Japan-based businesses and users. Moreover, as part of SBI Group’s digital asset portfolio strategy, 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,” said Jeremy Allaire, CEO and co-founder of Circle. “We are excited to collaborate with SBI towards setting new standards in the financial sector in Japan.” 


“Japan is steadily preparing the groundwork for the full-scale introduction of stablecoins, such as through the revised Payment Services Act implemented in June 2023. Under such circumstances, we are very pleased to have signed a basic agreement for a comprehensive business alliance with Circle, which manages and issues USDC, a stable coin with a market capitalization of nearly 4 trillion yen and used globally in more than 190 countries, and to have taken the first step toward widespread adoption of stablecoins in Japan. SBI Group is committed to wholeheartedly working towards realizing new financial possibilities using stablecoins,” said Yoshitaka Kitao, Representative Director, Chairman, President & CEO of SBI Holdings.