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IBM, AEON to Build a Digital Currency-Friendly Blockchain Payments Rail for Asia

Japanese retail giant AEON and IBM Japan are building a blockchain financial services & payments platform for consumers and enterprises in Asia.

AEON, Japan’s largest retailer, also offers a slate of financial services including banking, credit and micro-finance to customers in Japan and 11 other Asian countries through its financial arm.

Now, AEON Financial Service is building a blockchain-based financial platform with IBM Japan to enable financial inclusion in a number of underserved countries in the region. The blockchain platform will notably facilitate virtual currency payments between individuals and businesses. The platform will also enable the allocation and redemption of loyalty points and more efficient transaction data management.

“Based on settlements and transactions, AEON Financial Service is working to build a platform that will offer various financial services such as virtual currency payments and loyalty points exchange and redemption not only to customers in Japan but also throughout Asia,” revealed Masaaki Mangetsu, AEON Financial’s managing director for global business strategy. “We foresee great opportunities in using blockchain to build this platform, and will aim to use it to improve our current financial services offerings, as well as offering new services to underserved customers in Asian countries.”

The first stage in the development of the blockchain platform will see a trial as early as July. Further, that trial will be conducted on the Hyperledger Fabric, an open-source blockchain framework overseen by the Linux Foundation. IBM is notably among the earliest members of the Hyperledger project, a cross-industry collaborative driving development of open-source blockchain solutions.

IBM Japan will facilitate AEON with technical support in the development and implementation of the blockchain platform in the finance sector.

IBM Japan’s Yoshiki Minowa added:

As an innovative technology, blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses work together with their ecosystem partners. The technology establishes accountability and transparency while streamlining business processes.

IBM Japan has shown its mettle as a blockchain specialist, having facilitated the Japan Exchange Group – Asia’s largest stock exchange operator – in developing a blockchain platform for capital markets. Earlier in April, the technology giant revealed its foray into developing a blockchain trade finance platform with Japanese megabank Mizuho.

Meanwhile, Japan is seeing a rampant rise of blockchain development with everything from the country’s land and property registry to the national payments platform plausibly gearing for a transformative change bought on by decentralized blockchain innovation.

Featured image from Wikimedia.