Japan to test CBDC settlement solutions and expand its Web3 capabilities
(Kitco News) - Japan Credit Bureau (JCB), the country’s equivalent of an international payment system like Visa or Mastercard, has announced the start of the “JCBDC” project, which is designed to develop and test settlement solutions for central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
The goal of the project is to utilize “JCB’s existing credit card infrastructure and card-shaped interface for CBDC transactions,” the announcement said.
The project is being conducted ahead of the creation of a “general use (retail) type CBDC.” It is being done to prepare for various challenges, including the “integration with existing payment infrastructure” and “friendliness for a wide range of users, including those who do not use smartphones, such as the elderly and children.”
To complete the project, JCB has partnered with IDEMIA, a French company that provides augmented identities to international customers in the fields of finance, telecommunications, identity, public security, and IoT, and Softspace, a Malaysian fintech company that provides payment solution services globally.
The trio of companies will focus on developing a solution that utilizes JCB’s existing touch payment infrastructure, supports the use of plastic cards for CBDCs, and builds a “simulated CBDC handling environment.”
The payment solution is expected to be fully developed by the end of 2022. The JCB plans to “conduct demonstration experiments at actual stores until the end of March 2023 to verify [the] technology and eliminate problems.”
The Bank of Japan previously shared the three-phase trial outline for its CBDC, and this latest announcement aligns with phase 3, which involves a Pilot program that “somewhat reflects the actual design and functions of CBDC and involves private payment service providers and end users.”According to the BoJ governor, the digital yen could launch by 2026.
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Fukuoka looks to become Japan’s crypto hub
In other news out of Japan, the city of Fukuoka has partnered with Astar Japan Labs – the company behind Japan’s leading blockchain, the Astar network – as part of its bid to become the country’s cryptocurrency and Web3 hub.
Fukuoka, Japan’s second-largest port city and an official National Special Strategic Zone, has partnered with Astar Japan Labs to develop new use cases for Web3 technologies. More than 45 companies have already partnered with Astar, including Microsoft Japan and Amazon Japan.
The goal of the new partnership is to help the city attract competitive global businesses to the area. According to Fukuoka mayor Soichiro Takashima, the city is looking to have a similar effect on Web3 as large Japanese firms previously had on global commerce.
“We have to do in the context of Web3 what large companies did for the world when Japan was strong,” Takashima said.
Astar Network founder Sota Watanabe suggested that the goal of the new partnership is to help Japan compete with other regions that have developed a more welcoming approach to cryptos and Web3.
“In the US, some cities like Maimi and New York have positive attitudes toward Web3 and crypto. We are going to work closely with Fukuoka City to attract more developers and more entrepreneurs on Astar Network,” Watanabe said.
“This partnership is a part of the long-term strategy to help advance internationally competitive business in Fukuoka and create the crypto hub of Japan.”