Circle reveals expansion plans involving Singapore’s central bank

USD Coin issuer will invest in Singapore starting with a regional hub as it seeks to dislodge Tether’s dominance in the region

Circle, the peer-to-peer payments technology company behind the USDC stable coin, earlier this week revealed via a blog post its plans to build a regional hub in Singapore. The Asia-serving hub, whose plans are underway, is a joint venture with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which will provide the necessary licensing and registration.

“Circle has announced plans to expand to and invest in the Singapore market and initiate the application process to obtain applicable Singapore licenses and registrations. In connection with this application process, Circle will be establishing a hub for the broader Asia-Pacific market based in Singapore,” the firm’s strategy officer and head of policy, Dante Disparte, wrote in the blog.

The hub will help facilitate the adoption and use of the USD Coin in the region, among other objectives. The company’s chief executive Jeremy Allaire described the MAS as a pro-innovation institution spearheading FinTech developments. Allaire asserted that his payment firm was privileged to partner with the central bank, adding that the firm anticipated working jointly with other local businesses.

Partners for the Stable coin Lighthouse Project

In addition to providing competition to Tether, the USDC backer is scouting the region for potential local firms that it will collaborate with on its Lighthouse Project.

“Circle is looking for partners to experiment in stable coin innovations in the Singapore market as part of a Lighthouse Project,” Disparte detailed. “The project aims to demonstrate how digital currencies, open payment systems, and innovation-forward FinTech regulations can solve business and regulatory challenges while fueling economic growth and Web3 financial innovation.”

Speaking at the Singapore FinTech Festival this week, the managing director of the MAS, Ravi Menon, noted that stable coins were seeing use beyond the cryptocurrency space. Menon, however, cautioned about the financial risks associated with adopting the virtual asset. The USDC currently has a market capital approaching $35 billion and ranks as the second-largest stable coin by market value behind Tether.

Circle launches venture fund Circle Ventures

During the FinTech festival event, Circle also unveiled Circle Ventures – a subsidiary that will operate in the region to support compelling blockchain start-ups. The venture arm aims to invest in potential projects in the blockchain space.

The innovators and entities that will be featured under the subsidiary are those that share the USDC issuer’s mission of raising ‘global economic prosperity through the frictionless exchange of financial value.’ The venture fund doesn’t hold a specified sum, according to the company. It has also already released initial capital and is hopeful that blockchain entrepreneurs and developers will come up with prospective and embryonic opportunities.

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