Category Archives: MUFG

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Japan’s Largest Financial Group Trials Own Cryptocurrency

One of the world’s largest financial groups, Japanese company Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, has been trialing its own cryptocurrency.

The company has made its own Mufg coin available for payments by employees at its headquarters own convenience store in its Tokyo HQ. The experiment is said to be going well according to the company and “is quietly advancing” as Mitsubishi UFJ tests out whether either purchasers or merchant come across any issues.

Employees use the coin by simply scanning a QR code on their smartphones at checkout. The coins can also be used to exchange money between workers at the store. The coin is currently pegged to the Japanese yen at 1:1.

The company is carrying out the test to examine how blockchain may improve transactions such as payments and withdrawals, commenting:

“Potentially this coin could have large-scale commercial potential, as well serving small-scale retail bank customers. Other than Mufg coin, Mufg is testing another untitled digital currency rewards [program] for employees who reduce their overtime hours and practise a healthy lifestyle.”

Mufg has total assets of JPY 306 trillion (USD 2.76 trillion). Mufg Bank is Japan’s largest, operating in 40 countries outside of the country. The fact that that the bank is looking at looking at an internal cryptocurrency payment system, with a view to its wider applications within the company’s overall system, is sure to make significant ripples around Japan’s financial and banking sector.

The company stated that one reason for the coin trials stemmed from their obvious simplicity of use and convenience when compared to that of traditional fiat currency and banknotes, also providing the user and merchant a low-cost transaction option. These coins would offer the user “instantaneous transfer capabilities”.

Last year, Mufg president Nobuyuku Hirano suggested when the trials were forecast that the bank was planning to “overcome issues of virtual currencies and create a highly useful currency”. This is another indication of how Japanese acceptance of Bitcoin has filtered down to large corporations who are now beginning to examine cryptocurrency’s potential within financial systems in the country.

 

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Japan’s Largest Bank Partners with US Tech Giant for Blockchain Payment Service

The biggest bank in Japan has partnered with a US tech company to design a blockchain capable of handling 1 million transactions per second, boosting speed and reducing transaction feeds through distributed ledger technology.

MUFG and Akamai partnership

The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) partnered with US-based Akamai to deliver a new global payment network service, which is intended to be available from 2019 and will be compatible with Internet of Things (IoT) style payments and other emerging technologies.

“MUFG and Akamai, using Akamai’s globally deployed high-speed and high-security platform, will utilize this new blockchain’s high-speed processing and secure value transfer abilities to promote pay-per-use, micropayments, and other new IoT generation payment methods, and to support the diverse payment options of the sharing economy by offering an open platform,” reads the 21 May press release.

The new blockchain developed contrasts with the original cryptocurrency Bitcoin, which was built on the first blockchain in the world and can only process seven transactions per second; the distributed ledger developed by MUFG and Akamai is “permissioned”, which means that verified computers are the only ones able to join the network.

Risk and reward

MUFG and Akamai detailed the growing interest in blockchain technologies and highlighted its capacity to “strengthen protection against falsification of transactions and drastically lower costs”, as well as the fact that financial institutions across the globe are partnering with tech companies to also test proof of concept designs.

While the technology is reported to “create new risks for banks”, the Japanese financial giant has embraced it with Akamai, which according to the press release is “the world’s largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform”.

Blockchain has been receiving surging amounts of interest from governments and institutions since ICOs and cryptocurrency markets exploded in 2017. Industry heavyweights such as IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, and JPMorgan are making bold steps toward adopting the disruptive technology, which will only contribute to the future successes of the blockchain industry.

Blockchain, banking, and a cryptocurrency

Earlier in May, the Japanese financial giant reported that it had intentions of trialing its own cryptocurrency in 2019, which lines up perfectly with the intended release date for the new blockchain service.

As reported by Japanese local news outlet NHK, the fifth largest bank in the world by assets will be rolling out a trial app to approximately 100,000 MUFG account holders who can install the app on their smartphones and convert their deposits into the MUFG coin; one MUFG coin will be worth one Japanese yen. Users will also be able to use the currency wherever they so please and transfer the currency to accounts of other participants.

It is a clear indication that the global stance on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies is shifting toward the mainstream. Should the partnership and digital currency trial be successful, it will prove a transformative moment for the industry, financial institutions and society.

 

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World’s Fifth Largest Bank Joins Crypto Space with Digital Yen

Japan’s Mitsibushi UFC Financial group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest bank by assets, has announced it will trial its own digital currency as early as 2019, reports Cointelegraph.

The move, which dates back as far as 2016, sees the Japanese giant running out the coin, valued at one yen, to 100,000 account holders, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.  The bank suggests that its MUFG coin will be usable in a number of retail outlets, bars, and restaurants, and will also be transferable to other participant’s accounts.

MUFG will be checking to see that it’s all working as intended and that settlements are carried out smoothly and securely. It is reportedly broadening the pilot by offering the currency to a variety of businesses in order to expand the test.

Japan has seen increased interest in digital currency from some of the country’s largest cooperations, with DMM’s announcement that it was ready to trade in cryptocurrency and, most significantly, Yahoo Japan’s announced 40% stake in BitARG, planned for later this year. The deal, worth between USD 18.5 million and USD 27.8 million, allows BitARG to operate a domestic trading platform under FSA rules, making it a viable investment opportunity for Yahoo.

The Japanese Central Bank continues to be wary of cryptocurrency, with numerous warnings issued to customers regarding the perils of dabbling in digital currency, even issuing a negative Q and A for customers earlier in the year in order to test public knowledge and warn about the risks of crime.

Also Japan-based global investment bank Nomura has just announced its latest project; to establish a custody offering for digital assets.  The new project aims at removing barriers to institutional cryptocurrency investment.

Although news regarding large banks like MUFG and companies such as Yahoo walking the crypto path serves to give some extra legitimacy to the Japanese cryptocurrency market, there are still those who feel the ethos of the industry has been somewhat altered. Many crypto enthusiasts feel that the creation of Bitcoin was a positive step towards bypassing the monopoly of institution banking after the financial turmoil of 2008.

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