Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest financial institution, has laid out plans to introduce its own cryptocurrency. After first announcing the launch two years ago, the bank is finally ready to get the ball rolling. The test phase will begin sometime in 2019 and will see the cryptocurrency being issued to about 100,000 of the bank’s account holders.
The bank’s coin, the MUFG Coin, will provide functionality primarily as true currency. The participants in the test will download an app that automatically converts their deposits into the digital currency. The coin will carry a one-to-one value against the Japanese yen.
MUFG Coin users will be able to use the currency at a variety of locations, including convenience stores, restaurants and other retail establishments. Additionally, users can transfer funds directly to the accounts of other MUFG Coin users. If everything goes according to plan, the bank will become the first in the world to offer its own cryptocurrency.
It would seem that Japan is quickly embracing cryptocurrencies more than many other countries. While the country’s central bank is still holding back, many entities are preparing to get into the crypto space. Even Yahoo! Is getting involved, announcing in March that it would launch a cryptocurrency exchange sometime next year. Last month, Japan became the first to provide a self-regulatory body for the crypto exchange industry when the 16 licensed exchanges launched the Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Association.
Earlier this month, Japan introduced five new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges. The regulations are designed to help foster better innovation in the space while protecting consumers from fraud and scams.
The MUFG was born from a marriage between Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group and UFJ Group in 2005. Since then, it has grown into one of the world’s largest banks with operations in more than 51 countries. The financial giant offers products for consumer and private banking, corporate and investment banking and asset and real estate management. In its 2017 financial report, the company reported overall earnings of just over $8.96 billion, an increase of more than $570 million over the previous year.