According to reports out today, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) are due to begin trials of a custom cryptocurrency which, if it turns out to be a success, could very well become the first cryptocurrency produced by a major banking group. MUFG are a branch of the Mitsubishi Group, creators of everything from cars to compact discs, therefore you can probably guess that the MUFG branch of this have quite the financial backing. If so, you’d be correct, with MUFG generating around $4.495 Trillion in 2013. MUFG are considered to be the fifth largest banking group in the world. According to reports, the roll out will be trialled on 100,000 customers, in which account holders must apply to take part in the ‘experiment’. The currency, known as MUFG will be equal to 1 Japanese Yen and therefore, customers will be able to make direct exchanges from Yen to MUFG through their bank. MUFG then aim to use this roll out to collect data on the efficiency of the currency, for use in every day situations from general bank transfers, to shopping in brick and mortar shops. Some reports are also suggesting that the roll out of the MUFG coin will be followed by the production of cash machines, that will also work with a mobile phone app, designed to streamline the exchange system. It does seem that here, customer experience is at the fore of MUFG’s vision. According to NHK World Japan:
“The participants will install an app on their smartphones that converts their deposits into the digital currency. The bank officials will check to see if the settlements are carried out smoothly and in a secure way. For the future, they're considering tie-ups with a wide range of businesses to offer services based on the currency.”This is a really exciting time for cryptocurrency within Japan and of course, the roll out of MUFG will allow a whole new customer base to experience some of the benefits that a controlled cryptocurrency can provide. By being centrally located within MUFG, the currency should be safe and relatively easy to handle, therefore the risk of the volatile market is established. Essentially, this currency is not an investment opportunity (just yet) it has been designed to see how well cryptocurrencies can be integrated into mainstream life, by using technology such as smart phone apps and of course, the blockchain. It will be very interesting to see how this story develops. Hopefully we can get hold of some of the data collected soon enough!