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瑞穗、三菱日联推数字货币,日本无现金社会将提前到来?

全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯

瑞穗、三菱日联推数字货币,日本无现金社会将提前到来?

网站coinhills的数据显示,2018年年底以来,比特币日元交易对市场份额多次逼近50%,同时也出现了超越之势。众所周知,日本在加密货币领域的地位是不容忽视的。最近日本金融厅表示,已有超190家公司希望进入该国的加密货币市场。

在日本瑞穗金融集团、三菱日联金融集团等大型银行相继推出或测试数字货币的同时,现金交易依然在这个国家占主导地位。在日本大约65%的交易是以现金形式完成的,然而在富裕经济体中这个比例的平均值为32%。也许正因为如此,日本央行一再表示,他们认为没有必要发行央行数字货币。

据日本央行金融科技中心负责人Yuko Kawai表示,由于市场需求低,日本央行还没有考虑发行数字货币,Yuko Kawai说道:

“在一个无现金趋势进展不大的国家,我们真的需要一种数字货币吗?”

尽管可能存在这些负面因素,但该国的几家银行实际上正在推出自己的数字货币。

瑞穗金融集团

日本三大行之一的瑞穗金融集团于2018年12月宣布,该行将于2019年3月发行自己的数字货币。瑞穗金融集团是全球最大的金融机构之一,拥有6万名员工,管理着1.9万亿美元的资产。

瑞穗金融集团的数字货币将允许用户通过智能手机进行无现金支付,并允许用户之间的自由转账。

这是瑞穗金融集团和日本邮政银行发起的J-Coin项目的一部分。届时,将会有约60个地方银行参与此项计划,以推广无现金结算。

在J-Coin项目中,这种数字货币将与日元1:1挂钩,以减少波动性,信用卡公司收取的交易费将保持在较低水平。

瑞穗金融集团还希望,未来J-Coin可以用于支付工资,还可以与使用二维码的在线支付平台支付宝合作,让外国游客在日本实现轻松付款。

通过发行J-Coin,瑞穗金融集团可能有计划让地方银行发行自己品牌的数字货币。

瑞穗金融集团总裁Tatsufumi Sakai表示,J-Coin计划将使他们能够利用这项新支付服务获得的数据,对未来业务进行数据革新:

“财务结算业务的重要性已越来越明显,所以我们必须采取严肃的态度来进行改善。”

三菱日联金融集团

三菱日联金融集团(MUFG)是日本最大的金融公司,也是世界第五大银行,管理着2.7万亿美元的资产。

早在2015年,这家银行巨头就开始开发和实验这种被称为“MUFG币”的数字货币,然而直到2016年才正式对外公开确认了这个区块链项目。到2018年9月,该公式员工已经可以在一家内部便利店使用MUFG币。单个MUFG币的价格等于一日元,与日本法定货币等值。该公司的目标是将其应用于各种日常金融交易中,例如支付、存取款。

他们很看好MUFG币的应用前景:

“MUFG币具有巨大的商业潜力,可以为小规模零售银行客户服务。除了MUFG币, MUFG还在测试另一种尚未命名的数字货币,用来激励那些减少加班时间、践行健康生活方式的员工,这积极响应了安倍经济学(Abenomics)的工作方式改革。”

Fisco发行比特币债券

日本大型金融信息提供商Fisco于2017年8月发行了比特币债券,虽然他们没有发行自己的数字货币,但该公司是世界上最早发行这类与加密货币相关的债务融资工具的机构之一。该债券年利率为3%,到期后将返还比特币。

分析师表示,比特币支持的债券将允许大型机构使用比特币存储价值,这可能会让这些机构更愿意接受这种新兴支付方式,并且衍生工具通常会提高市场流动性,降低价格波动。

银行发行数字货币在全球范围内已是一个较为普遍的现象。除了日本之外,俄罗斯、英国、泰国、委内瑞拉、挪威、瑞典、巴哈马和立陶宛在内的一些中央和地方银行正在纷纷试点或考虑发行自己的数字货币。

但在日本这样一个现金依赖度较高的国家,银行推出数字货币的现象尤其令人振奋。因为凭借高效、低费用等优势,银行支持的数字货币可能会在这个加密友好国取得实质性进展,以推进该国无现金社会的到来。

Japan is known as a land of contrasts. A country where serenity and tranquillity can be found in the middle of the hustle and bustle of large global cities, where proud traditionalism stands side-by-side with the developers and innovators of breakthrough technologies, where kimonos are often found next to the latest fashion trends.

This contradictory tendency is no different in Japan’s cryptocurrency ecosystem. It ranks as one of the top crypto-friendly nations on Earth, with favorable and forward-thinking cryptocurrency regulations. They made Bitcoin legal tender in 2017, and at one point, the Japanese yen dominated the buying and trading of Bitcoin. The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has also received 190 cryptocurrency exchange license applications.

Yet, even though Japan has played host to some of the biggest crypto hacks to date (including Mt. Gox and Coincheck), they are still mostly a cash-based society where about 65 percent of transactions are done in cash (more than twice the 32 percent average among other rich economies) and, perhaps because of this, the Bank of Japan has repeatedly stated that they see no need or demand for a central bank-issued digital currency and that it is not an effective economic tool.

According to Yuko Kawai, the head of the Fintech Center at the Bank of Japan, because of the low demand, the central bank is not at the stage yet where they will consider issuing a digital currency:

“To begin with, do we really need a digital currency in the nation where cashless living isn’t making much progress?”

Despite these supposedly adverse sentiments, several banks in Japan are actually launching their own digital currencies.

Mizuho Financial Group

The Mizuho Financial Group announced in December 2018 that they will be issuing their own digital currency in March 2019. They are one of the largest financial institutions in the world that offers financial and strategic services, with 60,000 employees and $1.9 trillion assets under management.

The digital currency will be the first to be issued by a megabank and will enable users to make cashless payments with their smartphones, as well as allowing free cash transfers between users.

It is part of the J-Coin project, an initiative by the Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank, which further involves around 60 regional banks.

Under the J-Coin project, the digital currency will be fixed (pegged) 1:1 to the Japanese yen to reduce volatility, and the commission that shops have to pay credit card companies will be kept low.

Mizuho also hopes in the future that the J-Coin could be used for salary payments and also to team up with Alipay, an online payments platform that uses QR codes, to enable foreign visitors to easily make payments in Japan.

With the J-Coin, Mizuho has made it possible for regional banks to utilize a scheme to issue their own branded coins.

According to Mizuho Financial Group President Tatsufumi Sakai, the J-Coin scheme will allow them to take advantage of the data revolution by using the data obtained through the new payment service for its future businesses:

“The business of financial settlements has become more important and is expected to continue to grow. So we have to take a serious approach.”

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG)

MUFG is the largest financial company in Japan and the world’s fifth-largest bank, with $2.7 trillion assets under management.

They announced a trial of their own cryptocurrency in May 2018, and by September 2018, they had experimented with the MUFG coin at a convenience store for employees. The MUFG coin will be pegged 1:1 to the Japanese yen and the company aims for it to be applied to a variety of everyday financial needs, such as withdrawals and deposits to transactions and payments.

They remain optimistic about the use cases for the MUFG coin:

“Potentially this coin could have large-scale commercial potential, as well as serving small-scale retail bank customers. Other than MUFG Coin, MUFG is testing another untitled digital currency rewards for employees who reduce their overtime hours and practice a healthy lifestyle, which resonates strongly to the work style reform of Abenomics.”

In May 2018, MUFG also completed a cross-border payment pilot test using Thai bank Krungsri’s Blockchain Interledger to send money, in a matter of seconds, from a Thailand-based Mitsubishi Group subsidiary to the Standard Chartered account of a Singapore-based Mitsubishi Group subsidiary, and they announced a partnership with United States-based cloud delivery platform, Akamai Technologies, to release a global payment network based on blockchain.

Fisco Ltd.

Japan’s Fisco Ltd., a large financial services and financial information company, issued Bitcoin bonds in August 2017. Although not their own digital currency, they are one of the first organizations in the world to issue this type of crypto-related debt financing instrument.

The bond had a 3 percent annual interest rate and returns Bitcoin when it matures.

Dan Doney, the CEO of Securrency — a financial technology solutions provider that creates interoperability among blockchains and legacy systems with associated Decentralized Investment Banking Services (DIBS) — said that the Bitcoin bond “brings digital currencies into the world of high finance” but that it is very difficult to predict the price of Bitcoin tomorrow, let alone a year from now, and that this is what remains a major challenge.

According to analysts, a Bitcoin-backed bond would allow large institutions to store value using the digital currency, potentially making them more open to accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, and derivative instruments generally allow a more liquid market, reduced volatility and better price discovery.

Across the globe

Japan is not alone when it comes to banks launching digital currencies. The phenomenon has been observed across the globe, with several local and central banks either piloting or considering the issuance of their own digital tokens, including Russia, England, Thailand, Venezuela, Norway, Sweden, the Bahamas and Lithuania, to name a few.

But the application of bank-backed digital currencies becomes particularly interesting in a nation that is largely cash-dependent such as Japan, with the potential it has to persuade people to adopt a nontraditional, less familiar, but ultimately more cost-effective and efficient means of payment.

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