Japan has been very involved in the cryptocurrency space and is one of the countries that uses bitcoin the most in the world for transactions and in-store payments. Cryptocurrency trading is also very important in the country, and recently DMM Bitcoin exchange opened its platform with 7 cryptocurrencies available. The MUFG bank wants to join in on the trend and announced that it will create its own cryptocurrency in 2018, in addition to launching its own exchange on where it will be available to be purchased and traded.
The bank will create the MUFG coin, which will be based on the Japanese Yen’s value. One MUFG coin will be worth one yen, and the bank intends to keep it at that price. There is no guarantee that it will stay at that price, but the financial organization said it will regulate it to ensure its value hovers around one yen. It will therefore be a completely centralized coin, controlled by a bank, which will manipulate its value artificially. This will be similar to Ripple, which is also a centralized coin.
According to the bank, the coin will be able to be used to transfer money between individuals using a smartphone application, and also as a means of payment in participating stores. Many stores are already accepting bitcoin in Japan, such as popular electronic department store Bic Camera. There will be little restrictions regarding how much money can be transferred between individuals, which is not the case with current regulations.
The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has been working on their virtual currency for almost a year and it intends to launch it in the upcoming months. Trials and test runs were conducted within the bank. The group believes that cryptocurrency will bring many advantages and opportunities for their individual customers and for companies. It will supposedly also reduce costs for the bank and fees for customers. Moreover, using the blockchain technology could prove to be extremely useful for banks especially with the smart contracts feature.
The financial group has already discussed with the Japanese Financial Services Agency concerning regulations and is doing its best to ensure the launch goes smoothly. The new coin should be made available to businesses by March 2018. The bank stated that it is “developing a low-cost cashless finance infrastructure by leveraging blockchain technologies” and said it hopes to create “a convenient digital payment instrument that [can] help facilitate the realization of a cashless society in Japan”.
More and more banks and governments are getting interested in virtual currencies, whether they have a positive or negative opinion about them. Some officials have shown to be extremely reluctant to adoption, others more open. The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is on the latter side.
TLDR: The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is creating its own cryptocurrency and will launch an exchange platform where users will be able to purchase the coin. The bank is hoping to disrupt the way banks and financial organizations operate.