Circle, the digital payment company that operates the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, this week announced it is setting up a regional hub in Singapore and looking to partner with local businesses for its stablecoin Lighthouse Project.

Fast facts

  • U.S.-based Circle says its move into Singapore is part of its global expansion plans and the company intends to obtain the relevant Singapore licenses and registrations as well as hire a regional leadership team based in the country.
  • “You cannot build an always-on, global internet finance business without considering Singapore as a hub,” said Dante Disparte, Circle’s chief strategy officer and global head of policy, in a statement. “The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been an extraordinary regulatory partner as we have looked to expand our business horizons and invest in the Singaporean market.”
  • The company is also looking for local business partners to join its Lighthouse Project to experiment in stablecoin innovations in the Singapore market, with the MAS — the country’s central bank — observing and guiding project design.
  • In a speech at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2021, MAS managing director Ravi Menon said stablecoins were beginning to find acceptance outside of the crypto ecosystem, but could also potentially pose financial stability risks. The MAS, he said, was thinking deeply about the issues surrounding stablecoins and taking a flexible regulatory approach to encourage experimentation and allow innovation to flourish while managing risks.
  • In a series of announcements made at the Singapore FinTech Festival this week, Circle also launched Circle Ventures, a new initiative to invest in early stage blockchain projects and companies.
  • USDC is currently the second-largest stablecoin with a market value of over US$34.5 billion, according to CoinGecko data. As regulatory scrutiny over stablecoins grows around the world, Circle has also announced plans to become a full-reserve national digital currency bank in the United States.

See related article: A look at how global stablecoin regulations are evolving