USDC issuer Circle expands Asia focus in push to enter the region’s flourishing payments ecosystem


Share post:

Circle, the issuer of the USDC stablecoin, has been sharpening its focus on Asia as it sees an opportunity for stablecoins to be a part of and bolster the evolving payments ecosystem in the region.

“We’re looking at how to grow a web3 business and support the broader web3 ecosystem, so Asia was a natural place to be,” Yam Ki Chan, Circle’s vice president for strategy and policy, told TechCrunch+ at Korea Blockchain Week last Wednesday.

The company forayed into the region with Singapore, where it received an in-principle approval to operate its payments business last year, and this June, it received a full license to offer digital payment and token services both domestically and internationally. “That’s our Asia hub to start, and then we’re looking more broadly in Asia — we’re considering what it looks like, who the players are, how we can work with them and what their needs are,” Chan said.

Previously known for its more friendly stance towards crypto, Singapore has recently become a bit more cautious about the web3 space after a number of scandals rocked the industry in 2022. But despite its more measured approach, the country is still moving faster than many others both in the region and globally, making it an attractive hub for startups to flock to. In fact, a number of crypto startups I spoke with at the conference noted that while they had Korea-based founders, their companies operated out of Singapore thanks to the country’s more friendly regulatory landscape. It’s similar to how many U.S. founders are based in the States but operate out of the Cayman Islands, which is more friendly to crypto businesses.

In general, Chan thinks the U.S. dollar, or digital dollars, have a great product-market fit in Asia. “As an economist by training, one thing I looked at was, if you look at the trade-to-GDP ratio, Asian economies are much higher than the United States or Europe or intra-Europe trade.”

That makes a lot of sense. It’s easy to buy and sell goods within the EU since its member countries accept a common currency. The U.S. is similar, as you can buy a product in one state and sell it in another. Sure, there might be some discrepancies, like different taxes and local regulations, but it’s pretty easy to transfer funds and not have to worry about exchange rates and the like.

“But it’s different in Asia,” Chan said. “You’re going to have a small, local business started in Seoul and their customer is in Osaka or Kyoto and they’re getting yen in revenue, but their vendors are maybe in Ho Chi Minh or Bangkok and they’re paying [Vietnamese] dong or Thai baht.”

These are all costs that Asian businesses, especially smaller firms, have to carry, which makes it more expensive for them to do cross-border trade compared to their European or U.S. counterparts.

So the big question is, how can Asian businesses send and receive payments in a cheaper way, while also increasing speed and security? Chan thinks the answer may come from blockchain technology and stablecoins, like USDC.

For merchants conducting businesses internationally, and for small ones who might not have the time or resources, using stablecoins could provide a new opportunity, Chan said.

Source link

Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

Recent posts

Related articles

Disability tech startups kill the cynic in me

Welcome to the TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by the daily TechCrunch+ column where...

India’s PhonePe launches app store with zero fee in challenge to Google

PhonePe launched the Indus AppStore Developer Platform on Saturday, promising zero platform fee and no commission on...

How CFOs can reduce SaaS spend by 30% in these tough times

CloudEagle founder and CEO Nidhi Jain has over two decades of leadership experience in companies like ServiceNow,...

LimeLoop’s sleek reusable mailers seek to replace cardboard boxes

The era of e-commerce has brought choice, convenience, and cardboard boxes. Oh, so many cardboard boxes. “Everything goes...

AquaLith might have an answer to the US battery material shortage problem

AquaLith has its eye on a billion-dollar market opportunity: new types of battery cell components that don’t...

Bay Area baby belly beholding Battlefield bounty

Welcome to Startups Weekly. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday. If this newsletter...

Unity U-turns on controversial runtime fee and begs forgiveness

Unity has done a 180 on a controversial new pricing scheme that users of its cross-platform game...

Pitch Deck Teardown: Transcend’s $20M Series B deck

If you’ve ever had to plan a large infrastructure project — like building a new section of...