Japan’s Biggest Bank Is Releasing Its Own Cryptocurrency In March

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Japan’s Biggest Bank Is Releasing Its Own Cryptocurrency In March

The biggest bank in Japan has joined the bitcoin bandwagon.

According to sources, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MTU) intends to launch its own cryptocurrency in March 2018. The MUFG coin will be pegged to the Japanese yen and will be distributed initially to workers of the financial services business. It will allow conventional transactions, such as shopping or money transfers between persons (for example, splitting a bill after a dinner or drinks), at far lower prices than credit cards.

Users will need to build wallets in order to utilize the coin, and MUFG will handle transaction processing internally. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial began testing the coin in 2016 and partnered with cryptocurrency exchange GDAX, managed by Coinbase, last year.

Banks that were first hesitant to accept cryptocurrencies are now increasingly generating their own coins or embracing the underlying technology to ease operations. Last year, for example, UBS Bank’s Utility Settlement Coin (USC) consortium included six banks, including MUFG. The currency is pegged to a basket of currencies and is planned to be launched in limited quantities by the end of 2018.

MUFG’s action is a foregone conclusion in the Japanese government’s attempt to mainstream cryptocurrency, which was approved in 2017. (See also: Japan Supports Bitcoin.) According to previous reports, Mizuho Financial Group is heading a consortium of banks in the development of a cryptocurrency known as J-coin in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Japanese investors and exchanges have been instrumental in propelling bitcoin prices to new highs. Japan, together with South Korea, accounts for the vast bulk of trade volumes in popular cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum.

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Banking consortiums from both nations are also working together to test money transfers using Ripple’s blockchain technology.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is very dangerous and speculative, and this article is not a suggestion by Investopedia or the author to do so. Because every person’s circumstance is different, a knowledgeable specialist should always be contacted before making any financial choices. Investopedia makes no guarantees or warranties about the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided on this site. The author holds a minor quantity of bitcoin as of the day this article was published.

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