Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a digital currency that will be used for remittances and payments in March 2019. The digital currency will be managed by a dedicated smartphone app with payments made using QR codes. The token will be a “stablecoin” fixed at a price of 1 yen per unit.
|Mizuho Bank’s J-Coin|
Bank sources have said that in order to encourage consumer and retail acceptance of the new digital currency the transfer of funds by consumers back and forth between their digital wallet and their bank account will be free, as will be sending funds to other users. For retailers, the fees they pay for accepting the currency will be significantly lower than the fees charged for credit card usage.
Japanese media have also reported that the bank has also entered into agreements with more than 60 regional banks to promote cashless payments. The regional banks will be able to provide the service under a common name, although the name hasn’t been established yet.
Mizuho Financial Group is a public banking holding company that reported 1.45 trillion yen of revenue in 2017, equivalent to over $13 billion USD. The virtual currency is the result of the development of J-Coin, announced in September 2017 by Mizuho.
Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest bank, will also launch its own digital currency – MUFG coin – but a date for the coins release has not yet been decided.
|Information on the “MUFG Coin” and how it works|
MUFG is planning a trial this year that will involve as many as 100,000 MUFG retail bank customers. Bank employees have been conducting in-house trials for the last year and bank officials want to asses whether settlements and peer-to-peer transfers through the app are secure and efficient at a scale of 100,000 users as a next step in development.
In order to provide a legal basis for digital-currencies, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is reportedly considering placing cryptocurrencies into a dedicated legal category called “crypto-assets” to prevent confusion with legal tender.