Japanese Rail Commuters Will Soon be Able to Pay for Their Travels Via Cryptocurrency with JR East

As per a respected media outlet, Japanese commuters will soon have the ability to pay for their everyday journeys using a host of different altcoins as well as stablecoins.

In regards to the matter, it is being said that IIJ (Internet Initiative Japan), a well-known cloud service provider, has just signed an agreement with the East Japan Railway Company(JR East) to work on a project that will allow passengers to facilitate their ticket payments at a number of stations and kiosks using alt-assets such as BTC, ETH etc.

For those of our readers who might not be aware, JR East is currently one of the largest public transport operators within Japan— with recent studies indicating that the company currently runs 6 out of the nation’s 10 busiest train stations.

More on the Matter

In a recent interview with a spokesperson for IIJ, he went on record to state that JR East could start accepting crypto payments as early as June 2019— given that everything goes according to plan.

Payments will most likely be made possible via JR East’s ‘Suica smart cards’ as well as the firm’s native smartphone app. At press time, it is being estimated that a total of 75 million Suica cards are currently in circulation within Japan. What’s more is that the use of these cards is not just restricted to travel since owners can even use them at a number of convenience stores that are spread out across the country.

Other Key Points Worth Bearing in Mind

  • IIJ has been working within the global payments domain for quite some time now (1992 to be exact).
  • The aforementioned payment platform has already been tested and is all set to be released — pending a regulatory clearance from the Japanese Financial Services Agency.
  • IIJ currently has the economic backing of many major electronic retailers such as BIC Camera and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Final Take

In closing out this piece, it should be mentioned that a report released by Nikkei recently indicates that another big-name firm called Mizuho too is set to begin a pilot on the new IIJ-JR East platform later this month. According to a spokesperson for the firm, Mizuho is currently looking to allow a select few customers to make Suica payments using J Coin— the company’s native crypto offering whose value is pegged to the Yen (in a ratio of 1:1).


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