Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group will launch its digital currency service March 1, using direct links to users’ bank accounts to fight off outside players in the heated market for cashless payments, writes Nikkei Asian Review. The megabank is teaming up with 60 or so fellow financial institutions spanning most of the country. They together host a combined 56 million user accounts, which serve directly as digital wallets on the J-Coin Pay platform.
Fighting off established players like chat app provider Line and e-shopping company Rakuten, with strengths in reward points and other related services, will be no simple task. How J-Coin Pay sets itself apart will be key to the competition for leadership in digital payments, a gold mine of valuable consumer data. “The arrival of all these new entrants is eroding the common-sense notion that payment services are provided by financial institutions,” Mizuho CEO Tatsufumi Sakai reportedly said.
Brazilian Banco BTG Pactual, Latin America’s biggest standalone investment bank, is joining the world of crypto assets with its own security token as well, Bloomberg writes. BTG plans to raise as much as $15 million through an initial offering for a token called ReitBZ that will be backed by distressed real estate assets in Brazil, Gustavo Roxo, the bank’s chief technology officer, said in an interview. The token will based on blockchain technology, the decentralized public ledger of transactions.