JAN 18, 2024
Circle report highlights APAC moving ahead in stablecoin adoption
In a recent report, Circle Internet Financial, the issuer of the USDC stablecoin, emphasized the growing adaptability of the Asian population towards digital currencies. This trend indicates a substantial potential for increased stablecoin usage in the Asia Pacific region.
On Monday, the firm published "The State of the USDC Economy 2024 Report," providing a trove of relevant and timely data. Since its launch in 2018, the USDC stablecoin has facilitated over $12 trillion in blockchain transactions. The focus of the report is on the surge in remittances flowing into Asia, highlighting its growing presence.
Remittances of $130 billion into Asia
According to a World Bank press release, remittances to Asia reached $130 billion in 2022, with the average cost of transferring $200 standing at 5.7% in the last quarter of the year. Meanwhile, the region accounted for 29% of all global digital asset value received, surpassing North America's 19% and Western Europe's 22%. Against this backdrop, the report sheds light on Circle's strategic partnership with Coins.ph, a crypto exchange in the Philippines, which aims to tap into the country's personal remittance demand, estimated at around $36 billion annually.
In another blog post, the company also dispels the notion that stablecoins are primarily used for speculative trading, citing a 90% decline in such activities over the past five years. This shift in usage patterns highlights the growing acceptance and adoption of stablecoins for practical applications like remittances and trade finance.
Increasingly important role in trade finance
Importantly, Circle asserts that USDC can play a role in closing the region's $510 billion trade finance gap. This gap represents the lack of liquidity available to companies for cross-border remittances and credit, particularly affecting emerging markets with capital outflow restrictions. The report underlines how businesses in these markets often struggle to secure funding for international trade, and USDC is emerging as a solution.
One notable case study is Taipei-based XREX, which utilizes USDC to build financial pipelines between countries, leveraging the deep dollar liquidity in Taiwan to address the dollar scarcity in other Southeast Asian economies. This exemplifies how stablecoins like USDC are contributing to bridging financial gaps and facilitating international trade in regions with limited access to traditional banking services.
Circle has become increasingly active within the APAC region. In November, the firm joined forces with Japanese financial services conglomerate SBI Holdings to increase the circulation of USDC within Japan. Having been awarded a Major Payments Institution (MPI) license in Singapore in June, Circle followed that up later in the year by launching a zero-fee USDC minting facility within the city-state.
Considering these developments, the Asia-Pacific region, with its large unbanked population and significant digital wallet usage, is predicted to witness quick adoption of stablecoins for cross-border payments.