In a statement on Tuesday, SBI Holdings, the Japanese banking giant, unveiled plans to launch “S Coin”, a token specifically for mobile payment use. The announcement was made in partnership with Orb and Glory Corporation, and the company plans on using the token in trial form as soon as next month.
Japan is known for being one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly countries in the world, and certainly is a powerful pro-cryptocurrency force in Asia, especially in comparison to China, which recently banned ICOs. It is one of the few countries in the world that has actually declared bitcoin a legal form of payment.
One of the reasons of this is because the country has not been shy about its vision for a cashless society, with some of the most influential tech companies in the world, such as Amazon and Softbank, championing this vision. SBI’s “S Coin” certainly falls in line with this vision.
SBI seeks to utilize Glory Corporation’s ATM network to sync with credit cards and S Coin wallets. The trial run will help determine the needs of users and allow the platform to be tweaked before an official launch.
One of the reasons that SBI is entering this space at this time is because Japan recently passed a law that makes it easier for depositors to give access to their accounts and information. This has caused banks to race to achieve market share in the lucrative digital payments and electronic settlement sector.
There are many banks that are seeking to capitalize before tech giants such as Apple get involved. SBI Group employees will first test out the cashless settlement system by using the token at the restaurants located at SBI headquarters, in Roppongi Izumi Garden Tower, in Tokyo.
There is much more potential than simply entering the mobile payment sector for the S token, however. The S Coin platform is also an issuance platform, meaning that users could develop their own tokens for their own customized projects – which could ideally make SBI an Ethereum-like platform in the mobile payments sector. Obviously, this would be a huge market advantage, although, of course, time will tell whether users choose to flock to the platform for this particular utility.
This announcement comes right after SBI announced that the remittance arm of its company, SBI Remit, was turning to blockchain by teaming up with BitPesa, based in Kenya. The move was clearly a way to make commerce between Africa and Japan easier and more seamless.
It is clear that SBI is looking to blockchain technology to continue gaining market share in the global payments sector, and time will tell whether the “S Coin” launch is a success.