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Blockchain-based payments gain traction as governments and corporations embrace the technology

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(Kitco News) - Amid the slow integration of blockchain technology with the global financial infrastructure, blockchain-based payments continue to be one of the most useful applications of the technology as governments and corporations around the world look to create more efficient payment systems capable of offering immediate settlement.

In Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (MUTB), the country’s largest banking group, announced a new collaboration with Binance Japan to explore the issuance of fiat-pegged stablecoins, including the Japanese Yen and other foreign currencies, utilizing the “Progmat Coin” platform, a stablecoin issuance and management platform compliant with Japanese law.

MUTB announced the creation of Progmat Coin in February as a platform designed to support the issuance of Japanese Yen-pegged stablecoins on public blockchains.

“Under this partnership between MUTB and Binance, the joint study aims to drive mass adoption of Web3 and foster a thriving Web3 ecosystem in Japan by issuing new stablecoin utilizing [the] Progmat Coin platform compliant with the domestic regulations,” the press release said. “Various brands of stablecoins based on the ‘Progmat Coin’ platform will be available for issuance and circulation as soon as the intermediaries handling them have completed their license registration with the relevant authorities.”

Companies wishing to utilize stablecoins in their business dealings are required to obtain the newly established Electronic Settlement Methods Transaction Business Provider license under the revised Payments Services Act.

Binance Japan and MUTB are looking to have their stablecoin operations up and running by the end of 2024, the release said.

“We believe that the new stablecoin from this collaboration will be a step forward in advancing Web 3.0,” said Tatsuya Saito, founder and CEO of Progmat and vice president of product at MUTB. “Progmat is a neutral infrastructure that enables the issuance of various brands of stablecoins with the greatest flexibility of use and the least risk of de-pegging, [and] it does not compete with players issuing their own stablecoins.”

Visa and Mastercard integrations with the e-CNY app

As China pushes to increase the adoption of the digital yuan, a recent update to the e-NCY app now allows tourists to pre-charge their digital yuan wallet using Visa and Mastercard payment options.

The e-CNY app, which is still in its pilot version, allows users to open digital yuan wallets so that they can conduct transactions using the country’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). The app is available to iOS and China-based Google Play Store users.

The latest iOS app update published on Sept. 22 shows that version 1.1.1 supports its top-up service with international card options. Local media reports have suggested the updates to the e-CNY app coincide with the start of the Asian Games.

Inbound tourists can use an overseas mobile number to register and open e-CNY wallets and make use of the top-up feature, which now includes the option to pay via Visa or Mastercard.

JPMorgan explores blockchain-based deposit token to speed up cross-border payments

MoneyGram to launch non-custodial crypto wallet

MoneyGram International, the U.S.-based international peer-to-peer payments and money transfer company, has announced plans to launch its own non-custodial digital wallet in Q1 2024.

The wallet, which was announced at the Stellar Development Foundation (SDF) annual Meridian conference on Tuesday, will “enable consumers around the world to leverage stablecoin technology to seamlessly move from fiat to digital currency, to fiat again – all with the same global brand they trust,” the press release said.

The wallet was built by Cheesecake Labs in partnership with MoneyGram and will leverage the Stellar network and MoneyGram's fiat on and off-ramp services integrated with the Stellar network.

Once the wallet is fully rolled out, MoneyGram users will be able to visit any participating MoneyGram location to cash out their digital assets “to increase the utility of their holdings,” and will also be able “to seamlessly send digital assets to other users in the wallet,” MoneyGram said. The company will be responsible for doing a comprehensive global compliance screening for all wallet users.

“Through the services we provide in partnership with SDF, MoneyGram has made strides to create equitable access to the global financial system, having become the single largest fiat on and off-ramp provider offering blockchain access worldwide," said Alex Holmes, CEO of MoneyGram. “The MoneyGram non-custodial digital wallet advances this mission even further.”

As the wallet rolls out, MoneyGram plans to expand its capabilities and introduce new features that “will help further bridge the worlds of international money transfers and blockchain payments,” they said. To help entice users to adopt the wallet, MoneyGram is offering zero-fee services until June 2024.

MoneyGram launched its global fiat on and off-ramp service for digital wallets in 2022 in an effort to increase the utility of digital assets by creating a bridge between fiat and digital currencies. Since launching, the service has expanded to eight digital wallets on the Stellar blockchain, providing consumers the ability to cash-out in 180+ countries and cash-in in 30+ countries around the world.

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