Japanese Card Giant JCB Readies Crypto Interoperability Pilot

Source: Adobe/yukipon00

In Japan, a major player in the conventional financial sector is edging closer to crypto adoption – as credit card giant JCB announced that it would be working on a crypto-related pilot.

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In a press release, the Japanese card firm said that it had begun working on a pilot with Cowry, a Tokyo-based payments and blockchain startup that was set up in 2017. The firms, they said, would begin on a demonstration experiment involving interoperability solutions for tokens, making use of “existing cryptocurrencies and other blockchain networks” on Cowry’s own blockchain platform.

The two companies struck an initial partnership deal back in August 2019, and agreed to work on token economies such as local currencies, stablecoins, and more.

However, it appears this partnership has finally borne fruit, and another conventional business giant, the IT behemoth Fujitsu, is also aboard – the pilot will make use of interoperability solutions developed by Fujitsu Laboratories, a research arm of the tech firm.

JCB and Cowry claim that they have developed solutions that will allow them to settle payments immediately by using technology that “partially centralizes” when confirming new transactions – rather than force buyers and merchants to wait for blocks to be mined on their respective blockchain networks.

In theory, this innovation could allow merchants and buyers to receive or make transactions even if they were using different tokens to do so – for instance, a token X-holding customer could spend at a store whose owner only has a token Y wallet.

The new solution, they said, will aid as “token exchange distribution between different economic” zones, sectors, or groups “increases” in the future, and tokenization eclipses fiat in regional and community scenarios.

JCB and Corwry stated they would target “regional revitalization” with the new project, a suggestion that it could be used as part of forthcoming local stablecoin or token projects.

The firms did not disclose which tokens they would seek to make use of in the new pilot, nor did they mention where the pilot would take place.

JCB has been exploring a number of ways it could potentially move into crypto and blockchain-powered business sectors of late, and last year disclosed that it was working with Fujitsu on a new payment platform that could make use of cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.

The card giant is also working with another crypto-keen IT giant, the chat app operator Line, on e-pay-related solutions.

Per its own reckoning, JCB said it has issued cards to 130 million customers in 23 countries.
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