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Japanese Megabank Mizuho is Launching its Own Digital Currency in March

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:54 PM
Mark Emem
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:54 PM

Almost a fortnight since JPMorgan unveiled its own cryptocurrency and nearly three years after conducting tests, Japanese financial giant Mizuho Financial Group has announced a launch date for its digital currency, J-Coin.

According to the Nikkei Asian Review , the Japanese bank will unveil its own crypto known as J-Coin on March 1. The value of the J-Coin will be pegged to the yen with one coin being worth one yen. Mizuho Financial Group intends to use its cryptocurrency primarily in digital payments and remittances.

The Japanese banking giant has partnered with other domestic financial institutions numbering around 60. Combined, the 60 or so financial institutions boast of about 56 million user accounts – all of which will have digital wallets to accomodate J-Coin.

Mizuho’s J-Coin Promises to be more Convenient and Accessible than Credit Cards

To make payments using the J-Coin Pay app, all that users will be required to do is scan the QR code at checkout. Unlike in the case of credit cards, registering for a J-Coin Pay services will require no screening. J-Coin Pay will not have age restrictions and will be available to minors.

Mizuho Financial Group has set a target of signing up over 6.5 million users in the next couple of years. The Japanese bank also aims to reach at least 300,000 participating retail outlets.

The digital currency was first tested in December 2016 by the banking giant in partnership with IBM Japan.

At the time, the primary goal was to reduce money transfer costs. This is something the digital currency seems to have achieved as users will be able to transfer the digital currency from a wallet to a bank account at no cost. Additionally, J-Coin Pay will charge participating retail outlets lower transaction fees compared to credit cards.

To What Extent Will J-Coin Assist Japan in Achieving its Cashless Payments Goals?

The launch of J-Coin Pay next week comes amidst Japan’s plans to boost cashless payments, according to The Japan Times . By 2025 Japan has set a target of ensuring that 40% of all financial transactions are cashless.

Another Japanese bank that is working on its own digital currency  in Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG). Earlier this month CCN.com reported that Mitsubishi’s cryptocurrency had been tentatively named MUFG Coin and will be pegged to the Japanese yen.

JPMorgan’s JPM Coin not for Retail Users… At Least Initially

The news of the impending launch comes less than two weeks since U.S. lender JPMorgan Chase unveiled the JPM Coin. Unlike the J-Coin which is targeting ordinary users, the JPM Coin will be primarily focusing on large transactions. Per JPMorgan’s head of blockchain projects, Umar Farooq, this will cover organizations that make use of decentralized ledgers:

“The applications are frankly quite endless; anything where you have a distributed ledger which involves corporations or institutions can use this.”

According to CNBC , this will include processing international payments for big corporate clients and thus replacing wire transfers. JPMorgan will also use the digital currency for securities transactions to ensure instant settlements. Another use for the JPM Coin will be in its treasury services business. In this case the coin which is pegged to the dollar on a 1:1 basis will be used to replace the greenbacks held in custody.