Japan’s biggest bank launches digital currency

The MUFG Coin will be used to create a borderless shopping experience across the Recruit network

Outside MUFG bank
The MUFG Bank is one of Japan’s biggest banks.

The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Japan’s biggest lender, is expected to start circulating its own cryptocurrency in the second half of 2020.

Dubbed as the MUFG Coin, this digital currency has been in development for several years and will be unveiled in partnership with HR firm, Recruit Holdings.

Mainichi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper, published a statement from bank President Hironori Kamezawa that revealed how Mitsubishi UFJ is planning on rolling out its digital token through a smartphone payment app for the member companies that are listed on Recruit’s website.

The new coin allows customers to buy goods and services from restaurants, convenience stores, and other shops on the Recruit network. It also enables transfers between users.

Previously, Mitsubishi UFJ announced that it would allow other enterprises to use the coin and the technology would be available for white label, allowing enterprises to purchase the coin and have it branded with their own name. However, the MUFG Coin that is set for release is a step back from these plans.

The new initiative will be looking at several different applications and the value of the MUFG coin will be tied to the yen.

Mitsubishi UFJ is also considering other ways that the digital currency and its underlying blockchain technology may be leveraged through other banking services. Recently, the company backed the San Francisco-based startup Securitize with a $14 million investment.

Securitize works to help firms tokenize their securities and assets.

This move was made years after the Mitsubishi UFJ joined the blockchain-based Utility Settlement Coin (USC) project, distinguishing itself as one of the firms in the Asia Pacific region to actively participate in the crypto hype at that time.

The banking giant’s securities subsidiary, MUFG Securities, has been collaborating closely with the Global Payments Steering Group (GPSG) over the transfer of real funds through RippleNet..

The MUFG and its group of companies have been consistent in their approval and support for cryptocurrencies since 2019.

Several tech giants have also taken a more positive approach in digital currencies and related technologies. Companies and governments alike have announced their intent to proceed with the research and development of prototype cryptocurrencies, which may someday serve as rivals to Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The Mitsubishi UFJ’s latest project is a result of the J Coin project, which was launched in 2017, and garnered support from the country’s central bank and financial regulator for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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