Stablecoin issuer Circle and Japan-based financial services firm SBI Holdings have entered a partnership to boost the circulation of USDC and promote Circle’s Web3 services in the country. 

In an announcement on Monday, SBI and Circle said they had concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to circulate USDC in Japan and would also establish a banking relationship to promote its use.

The news comes after the Japanese government revised its Payment Services Act in June to establish regulations for stablecoins. The revised laws grants legal status to “collateralized” stablecoins that are backed by legal tender.

SBI’s Shinsei Bank will provide banking services to Circle which will enable greater liquidity for Japan-based businesses and users. SBI’s crypto trading platform SBI VC Trade will seek registration as an electronic payments instrument service to further circulate USDC stablecoins in Japan. 

The SBI Group also plans to integrate Circle’s programmable wallet blockchain infrastructure and smart contract management tools to further its digital asset strategy.

“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 Circle CEO and cofounder Jeremy Allaire.

This isn’t the first time SBI has ventured into a partnership with a digital asset firm. The Japanese firm has used XRP issuer Ripple Payments to facilitate cross-border transactions since 2017, and in 2021, it’s remittances subsidiary SBI Remit adopted XRP as a bridge within the payments system. More recently, the firm expanded those services to bank accounts in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.