Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group intends to launch its own cryptocurrency in March 2019 as per reports by Nikkei on 26 December 2018.
The new cryptocurrency will share the same payment status as Japanese yen and will be used to make transfers or payments through a mobile phone app. The coin awaiting christening, will be rolled out to retail shops and regional banks.
The digital coin will enable conventional transactions, such as retail usage or transfer of money between individuals, at a price much lower than compared to credit cards. Mizuho’s coin would also be convertible into yen via a smartphone app and using QR codes that are to be scanned in stores.
Users and retail outlets will not be charged a fee on the cryptocurrency transactions. These include the transfer of funds between their smartphones and bank accounts.
As a token for providing the service for free, the banks would benefit by collecting more data on the consumer spending patterns. Such data will come in handy for data science professionals who can harness artificial intelligence and suggest insights to banks.
The value of the newly launched digital coin will be capped at 1 yen per unit and will not fluctuate on the market when compared to other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.
The cryptocurrency is the fallout of the J-Coin project announced in 2017 by Mizuho Financial Group Chairman Yasuhiro Sato, who was the President and CEO at the time. It will be a novel undertaking to be operated by Japanese megabanks.
Yasuhiro Sato quoted:
“I think this electronic money is quite ahead of [credit and debit] cards”
The plan is to showcase Japan’s fintech capability at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when a multitude of tourists are expected to visit Japan.
Perhaps this is a push to other countries to open up to upcoming technologies. When cryptocurrencies are well established with regulatory foundations, financial technologies will do wonders for a country.
Mizuho also has a dedicated interest in blockchain technology. It was able to send key financial information from Japan to Australia using blockchain. Japanese banks are striving hard to relieve consumers from using cash and adopting digital currencies.
The banks are either moving towards introducing their own cryptocurrency or using existing platforms. For example, Japanese Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) announced plans to test a new cryptocurrency called MUFG Coin, which promises a great shopping experience.