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Following JP Morgan's Lead?
Japanese Bank to Issue Its Own Cryptocurrency
JP Morgan seems to have been the first big institutional adopter of blockchain technology. While JPM Coin is controversial in the crypto-community, more financial institutes seem to be following their lead.
Japan's largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) has been looking into blockchain since 2016. It is also important to note that MUFG is the world's fifth largest financial institute.
In an interview to Japan Times, MUFG president Mike Kanetsugu confirmed rumors that it is launching its own cryptocurrency. In a very similar manner to JPM Coin, MUFG is launching a stablecoin aptly named COIN. Unlike JPM Coin, COIN will be pegged to the value of the Japanese Yen as opposed to the dollar. It will have a 1-to-1 exchange rate with the Yen. COIN will be released in 2019 and will be accepted in many retail stores and restaurants across Japan.
Kanetsugu said "[COIN] will be able to connect economic blocs," including customer bases of such firms, in a recent interview.
Despite being a leader in tech, Japan is a notoriously cash based society. Many banks and tech firms have been making strides to make Japan more cashless friendly. In recent years credit cards have been growing in popularity as well as payment apps.
The Japanese government and financial institutions have been encouraging this transition for a few reasons. The primary one is most likely fighting money laundering and tax evasion.
MUFG most likely released COIN instead of adopting JPM Coin or Ripple to cater to Japanese audiences. It will have its own app, reward program and value pegged to the yen as opposed to other currencies.
It is likely that we will see more and more banks issuing their own coin or token. This is because no bank would ever use a different banks token or coin. Another reason is that issuing your own coin grants its issuer more control than using existing solutions like Ripple. One can only wonder what bank will be next.