Japan Looks to Deploy Experimental Blockchain Payment System Ahead of 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Even though Japan has had a largely conservative financial system in place for decades, according to latest news reports circulating on the internet, all of this is set to change by the end of next year. This is because one of the world’s largest financial institutions is allegedly devising a “blockchain-based consumer network” for the upcoming 2020 Olympics that will be able to handle millions of transactions per second.

As per the latest issue of the MIT Technology Review, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) has joined hands with American internet startup ‘Akamai’ in an effort to build what will probably be the world’s fastest payment network.

While the project is quite experimental in nature, if the developers are successful in completing it within time for next year’s Olympics, it will usher in a new era of digital finance for Japan— a country that is still ruled primarily by cash-based transactions.

More on the Matter

Despite Japan being known for its amazing technological innovations, the country’s existing financial framework is still quite archaic— particularly in the sense that most people still prefer to use cash for carrying out their day to day monetary transactions. To put things into perspective, we can see that the Japanese are the “world’s most prolific users of physical fiat money” — so much so that the nation’s 200,000-strong ATM network requires a total of $18 billion (per annum) to operate efficiently.

With the nation expecting a massive influx of tourists next year for the upcoming edition of the summer Olympics, it now remains to be seen how Japan is able to satisfy the digital payment needs of its expected international travelers (primarily because most of these travelers hail from countries where electronic payments are the norm.

Is Japan’s Economy Primed For Big Things in the Future?

As things stand, it appears as though the MUFG is convinced that cryptocurrencies are the future of the digital payment sector. In addition to this, the Japanese Financial Standards Agency (FSA) is one of the most progressive economic regulatory bodies in the world. As a result of these factors, many experts believe that Japan is uniquely positioned to “leapfrog from cash to cryptocurrency” within the coming 12-24 months.

Final Take

While a leap of such an epic magnitude might be difficult to facilitate, it is worth remembering that such things have definitely happened in the past before. For example, the GSM revolution that took place across sub-Saharan Africa during the latter half of the 90’s saw a vast population of the continent become one of the tech-savviest regions in the world within the space of less than two decades.

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