Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. has announced that it would be introducing a proprietary cryptocurrency next year. The bank, which is one of the top five globally said that the move will entail a gradual introduction to a select group of customers who would be the beta testers enabling the bank locate areas of potential bugs as the users use the digital currency to make everyday purchases.
The MUFG Coin is an indication that the Japanese business community has in all intent cast their lot for the crypto culture even when many banks in other countries are still borderline participants in the digital currency revolution.
The token is a product of three years of deliberations and research by the company. It has become the first among the foremost banks to openly show support for cryptocurrencies and is going ahead to issue theirs.
The MUFG Coin will be issued sometime in 2019 to 100,000 customers who would deploy it to their everyday use. The bank hopes the coin will gain some traction and higher adoption through that channel.
Japanese daily, Asahi Shimbun, had in 2016 released the news that MUFG had bundled a trial of the MUFG coin and a smartphone app. The ongoing research, the company then said “takes advantage of the new technology that is on a network of multiple smaller computers,” The report continued, “It is possible to cheaply build a tamper-resistant transaction record of the ledger, otherwise referred to as the ‘blockchain.”
Details of the project show that the users will download an app that has been made to convert the Japanese yen to MUFG Coin. One of the reasons the project was initiated 3 years ago was to bring down transactional cost of remittances that generate frictions between banks and customers using a peer-to-peer platform.
Mitsubishi was one of the participants of R3, a private consortium of international banks that explored crypto-related solutions years ago. It seems that the bank went away from that symposium with an appetite for crypto solution for their banking operations. The R3 exposition was where some of the biggest banks tested the distributed ledger technology using Azure on Ethereum. That left them without reservation that the technology works.
In Q4 of 2017, the MUFG president announced that the bank was working on how to “overcome issues of virtual currencies and create a highly useful currency.” That was the hint that made it clear that the bank was monitoring cryptocurrencies for possible involvement. It was a reflection of the high level of digital currency adoption in Japan.
MUFG has been reported to be courting other banks partnership in its crypto endeavor. Another report says that another bank, Mizuho is planning its own coin, J-Coin which may be ready for launch during the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Other big names planning coin launch are Yahoo! Japan and DMM, the e-commerce group with 30 million users.
Mitsubishi United Financial Group (MUFG) is the second largest holding company valued at $2.5 trillion assets and the largest financial company in Japan.