Business 25 May 2018

Erik Gibbs

Japan’s Money Forward plans crypto expansion

Popular Japanese personal budgeting app Money Forward (MF) has announced that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange at some point this year. The new exchange, through the company’s newly launched MF Financial Co., Ltd. subsidiary, will be overseen by a member of MF’s Blockchain and Virtual Currency Laboratory.

MF announced its crypto exchange plans earlier this week, stating that it hopes to have a cryptocurrency media platform ready for launch by this summer, with the exchange and a digital asset payment system to follow before the end of the year. The payment system has been in the works since December.

Not content with just the new exchange, the company also announced that it was providing a new set of tools for its cryptocurrency customers that will offer a new automated digital currency accounts book. The tools provide support for user-inputted data from twenty different domestic and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges. Additionally, they can simplify crypto tax filings, generated from the profit and loss calculations of users’ transaction histories.

The adoption of digital currencies in Japan continues, with Japanese financial institutions joining the domestic crypto space, thanks to the recently implemented industry regulations. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) announced on Wednesday that it had successfully trialed a cross-border payment transaction using a blockchain interledger from a Thai bank.

MUFG also has plans to begin a pilot test of its own cryptocurrency, the MUFG Coin, next year. In a slight twist on the cryptocurrency design, however, the coin will have a 1-to-1 value against the Japanese yen and will operate as a true currency.

The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange GMO announced on May 14 that it was expanding its loan program. GMO’s service gives users the ability to “rent out” virtual currencies to the company for a fee. The exchange currently supports BTC, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

Over 500,000 Japanese businesses, as well as 2,400 accounting firms, currently use MF’s cloud-based software to administer their invoices and tax accounting programs. The Tokyo-based company was first created as Moneybook Co., Ltd., in 2012 and renamed to its current name later that year.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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