London crypto-payments company Wirex has just announced its partnership with Japanese SBI Holdings. The joint venture aims to provide Japanese customers with bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment cards.

Wirex Limited, the UK-based financial platform to combine bitcoin with traditional currency, has recently collaborated with Japan’s foremost FinTech investor SBI Holdings to establish a new Asia focussed joint venture, SBI Wirex Asia, according to the press release . The co-working is targeted at cryptocurrency ecosystem’s further development and more mass adoption for digital payments.

Within the collaboration, Wirex will benefit from SBI Holdings’ support, scale and Asian market relationships, while SBI Holdings in its turn will get access to Japan’s most popular provider of cryptocurrency debit cards. SBI Wirex Asia’s goal is to launch a bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment card for Japanese customers.

Pavel Matveev, CEO of Wirex, commented:

“Our new relationship with SBI Holdings enables us to deepen our already market leading position in the country to offer new Japan and Asia focussed products and services. I look forward to working with the team at SBI. Japanese customers are our most enthusiastic supporters and use our VISA-backed cryptocurrency debit card more regularly than anywhere else in the world. They deserve a Yen denominated card soon and we will deliver it to them.”

SBI has been expressing growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies since 2016. It has already invested into Japanese exchange bitFlyer. In September 2017, SBI collaborated with blockchain payments startup Ripple and began testing a money transfer system using distributed ledger technology between Japanese and South Korean banks.

The partnership between SBI and Wirex followed SBI group’s $3 million investment into Wirex which was announced earlier this year. The company aims to broaden its influence on cryptocurency market. It has also joined the R3 blockchain consortium, while its securities division has taken part in a distributed ledger pilot with the Japan Exchange, IBM and NRI.

Wataru Kojima, Wirex Japan CEO and Head of Asia, appointed to the position earlier in October, said:

“I am pleased to see SBI Holdings enter into a relationship with Wirex, which will offer Japanese customers much improved choice and flexibility when it comes to cryptocurrency payments. Japan leads the world in bitcoin regulation and our accountants are armed with the tools to accept bitcoin on balance sheets. I will ensure Japan maintains our preeminent position in this space though providing the most innovative and cost-effective technologies globally.”

Wirex represents the world’s biggest provider of cryptocurrency debit cards and virtual wallets. It already serves 900,000 customers in more than 130 countries and is in the process of obtaining an e-money license in the United Kingdom. In near future the company plans to offer contactless bitcoin payments, contactless cards, additional currencies and new bitcoin-based financial products.

Wirex has already launched a virtual cryptocurrency credit card via their mobile application in July 2016. Virtual cards work just like physical cards, but aren’t tangible and cannot be used in places where a physical card is required.

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