SMBC to Trial Soulbound Tokens in Conjunction with HashPort

UTC by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
SMBC to Trial Soulbound Tokens in Conjunction with HashPort
Photo: Depositphotos

Japan’s SMBC seeks to run trials for soulbound tokens as the banking giant looks to steepen its foothold in Web3.

Japanese banking powerhouse Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) recently announced plans to focus on Web3 soulbound tokens. The prominent East Asian bank intends to leverage its existing relationship with blockchain startup HashPort to achieve this Web3 goal.

SMBC said that it would conduct a trial of the soulbound tokens (SBTs) for identity verification through its HashPort partnership. According to the Japanese bank, this joint venture with HashPort would create a “safe and secure web3 economic zone”. Furthermore, the Tokyo-based bank also stated that the trial period would last until March next year. Upon conclusion of this phase, SMBC plans to advance its focus to career soulbound tokens. Additionally, the bank would assess fan communities built around these tokens in conjunction with other corporations.

Lastly, SMBC and HashPort Group may consider non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and web3 infrastructure development.

The Process

SMBC would issue soulbound tokens on a trial basis with technical support from HashPort. Afterward, the partnership might delve into testing these SBTs to prove behavior or claims regarding careers.

The partnership announcement between SMBC and HashPort has been developing for months. Back in July, both platforms entered into discussions to launch a collaborative business initiative geared towards a Web3 economic zone.

SMBC Is One of Several Japanese Banks to Venture into NFTs, Soulbound Tokens, & Web3

SMBC is not the only Japanese bank exploring the Web3 space for growth opportunities. MUFG Bank, the largest financial institution in Japan, has also made a sizable investment into Animoca Brand’s Japanese subsidiary for interactive digital assets. In August, the leading bank invested $22.5 million into the local subsidiary for NFTs and the metaverse.

MUFG also maintains a blockchain platform called Progmat, which seeks to leverage the issuance of security tokens and stablecoins.

In September, Nomura created digital assets venture subsidiary Laser VC to cater to its digital assets’ interests. At the time, Kenaro Okuda, Group CEO commented on the development as a necessity, explaining:

“Staying at the forefront of digital innovation is a key priority for Nomura. This is why, alongside our efforts to diversify our business, we announced earlier this year that Nomura would be setting up a new subsidiary focused (on) digital assets.”

SBI Holdings, another Tokyo-based financial service company, also has an NFT subsidiary.

Soulbound Tokens

Soulbound tokens are non-transferrable NFTs associated with a single person. However, one individual could possess multiple SBTs for several reasons, including gaming obligations. Furthermore, individuals could also have these tokens for credit history usage.

Despite the personal nature of soulbound tokens, it does not necessarily have to reflect their holder’s real-world identity. Nonetheless, including a real-life identity in an SBT career token essentially consolidates the ownership bond and serves as a credential. In addition, career soulbound tokens typically feature a crossover self-sovereign identity and verifiable credentials.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin remains particularly drawn toward soulbound tokens as the catalyst for a decentralized society. In fact, the Russian-Canadian computer programmer has written a whitepaper on the topic.

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Tolu Ajiboye
Author Tolu Ajiboye

Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge. When he's not neck-deep in crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.

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