Japan’s biggest bank, and the world’s fourth largest, is reportedly planning to launch a large-scale trial of its own digital currency as early as next year.

According to a report fromHK, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group has plans to conduct a test of its MUFG Coin in limited areas of Japan. It’s reported that the trial will involve around 100,000 MUFG bank account holders who apply to take part.

Those who take part will install an app on their smartphones, which then converts their deposits into the digital currency. One MUFG Coin will be valued at one Japanese yen. Participants will be able to use the bank’s cryptocurrency at restaurants and shops. Transferring the currency into the account’s of other participants will also be possible.

In a post posted on Medium, it was announced at the beginning of the year that the Japanese bank was planning to launch its own digital currency by March. It also plans to create a cryptocurrency exchange. With bitcoin seeing a surge of popularity in Japan, the bank has realised that it makes sense to get in on the market. By doing this, it aims to aid peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions, simplify payment procedures, and reduce fees.

Considered one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly locations, the fact that Japan’s largest bank is moving ahead with its own digital currency highlights the progress the crypto industry has made since it first came on the scene. Yet, as the post states there are benefits and challenges to users.

While larger cryptocurrencies created by banks would be more widely available and anonymous (relatively, at least), they would also require stricter regulation. Adoption by banks could also revolutionize banking at large by leveraging blockchain methodology on a larger scale.

The Medium post adds:

On the other hand, many banks fear and criticize cryptocurrency, and this prevents blockchain technology from becoming more accessible. Banks that do want to experiment with cryptocurrency often decide to create their own rather than deal directly with existing currencies.

As the post notes, this is a disadvantage to users who are already using one of the many cryptocurrencies already in existence. Yet, while banks may help to bring some extra legitimacy to the digital currency market, there are some who think that the foundation of the industry is being forgotten. After all, the whole point of bitcoin’s creation was to get away from bank’s monopolisation and the impact it created after the 2008 financial crisis.

Featured image from Shutterstock.
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