The announcement was made by the group’s banking unit, reporting a trial that could involve potentially 100,000 initial accounts. MUFG is the world’s fifth-largest bank when ranked by assets and publicized its interest in launching a token earlier this year. If the plans go ahead it would become the first Japanese bank to do so, and possibly the world’s first major bank to issue a digital currency.
The currency will be set at a fixed conversion rate equal to one yen when it launches and test customers will be provided with an app with which they can automatically convert deposits. According to reports by Japanese news broadcaster NHK, users will be able to transfer the currency amongst themselves and pay with the currency at a number of outlets, including restaurants and shops.
MUFG president Nobuyuki Hirano spoke at the Fin/Sum Week 2017 conference, noting growing interest and adoption of digital currencies like bitcoin in Japan. He said his bank’s coin will aim to overcome some of the difficulties associated with bitcoin, such as volatility.
The bank is the latest in an ever-increasing stream of Japanese companies getting involved in Cryptocurrency in 2018.
Japanese ‘megabank’ Mizuho was already testing their own digital token as far back as 2016. Tentatively titled ‘J-Coin’, it would also be equal to one yen upon launch and has already seen a successful trial of its app. Developed in partnership with IBM Japan and based on blockchain technology, it has received support from other banks and is intended for launch ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
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