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Tokyo, Jun 3 . .- Three of Japan’s largest banks and companies in other sectors have joined forces to develop a “digital yen”, an electronic payment system based on Japanese currency and the technology of the chain of blocks, the local media announced this Wednesday.

Participating entities include Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui, which already have their own digital currency projects underway, and the railway company JR East, which in turn has a rechargeable magnetic card to use its lines, according to reports. This Wednesday the Japanese newspaper Nikkei.

The objective would be to develop a joint payment system based on the widespread use of said magnetic cards known as “Suica”, of which there are some 80 million units in circulation in Japan, and which can be used to make small purchases as well as to pay train or metro routes.

At the moment, a working group has been created with a dozen companies that also includes telecommunications operators KDDI and IIJ and the cryptocurrency exchange DeCurret, which would provide the necessary technology to use the “blockchain” or blockchain. as a security system for the future digital currency, according to Nikkei.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) and the National Financial Services Agency will also participate as observers in the initiative, which is expected to take shape by next fall and be presented to the competent regulators thereafter, according to sources close to the project to the mentioned medium.

Electronic payment systems have grown in popularity in Japan thanks to the proliferation of new applications for mobile phones such as PayPay, powered by technology conglomerate SoftBank, or RakutenPay, from digital commerce giant Rakuten.

If successful, the initiative of the Japanese bank consortium would go further by allowing direct transactions between bank accounts and a “digital wallet” of yen, without the mediation of a credit card or cash income, as is the case with current ones. mobile applications or the aforementioned Suica card.

Japan became one of the first countries to regulate cryptocurrencies in 2016, virtual currencies that, among other things, are characterized by being decentralized and highly volatile, and since then it has been the scene of several attempts by Japanese banks to develop currencies of this type. tied to the yen.