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Japan: SBI to Issue Blockchain-powered Local Gov’t Gift Certificates

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

SBI Holdings, a Japanese financial giant, crypto exchange operator and Ripple’s biggest Asia-based partner, is to begin developing blockchain-powered gift certificates with the Fukuoka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Source: Adobe/fenlio

Per Fisco, via Kabutan, the initiative will be conducted in the city of Ukhia, in Fukuoka Prefecture. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry regularly issues gift certificates in an attempt to boost the local economy, but in the past has mainly done so using paper-based solutions.

However, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life in the prefecture, the province instead wants to digitize its operations as quickly as possible – and has turned to SBI for answers.

The certificates essentially function as a type of local stablecoin – particularly popular across the sea in nearby South Korea.

Those issued with the certificates – which will be pegged 1:1 with the Japanese yen – will be able to access them via a smartphone app, featuring a QR code. Merchants in Ukhia stores will then be able to scan these codes and receive payments – with the entire process digitized and taking place on a blockchain-powered platform.

SBI says it will work with merchants on tech-related solutions, and stated,

“We will work with individual companies on regional revitalization projects by utilizing blockchain and distributed ledger technology.”

The certificates are slated for release in September this year – and will be available for use in Ukhia from October until February 2021.