The parent company of Japan’s biggest internet bank, and Wirex, a bitcoin wallet and debit card, have signed a deal to establish a new Asia focused joint venture.
SBI Wirex Asia is to launch a Japanese cryptocurrency payment card through close collaboration between Wirex and SBI Holdings.
Wirex will provide their expertise in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, while SBI will provide support, scale and Asian market relationships.
Pavel Matveev, CEO of Wirex, said the joint venture follows a previous investment of $3 million by SBI Group in Wirex this year. He further added:
“Japanese customers are our most enthusiastic supporters and use our VISA-backed cryptocurrency debit card more regularly than anywhere else in the world. They deserve a Yen denominated card soon and we will deliver it to them.”
SBI Holdings is the top investor in blockchain technology according to a recently released report on the landscape. So investing in eight unique blockchain projects.
The joint venture, however, appears to be of a different level, suggesting SBI Holdings will be more directly involved and may incorporate the card in their many other financial products. Wataru Kojima, Wirex Japan CEO, said:
“Japan leads the world in bitcoin regulation and our accountants are armed with the tools to accept bitcoin on balance sheets. I will ensure Japan maintains our preeminent position in this space though providing the most innovative and cost-effective technologies globally.”
Japan is the first country in the world to declare digital currencies as legal tender with interest in the country considerably increasing.
Their biggest exchange, bitFlyer, has grown to third position in bitcoin trading volumes, handling some $85 million in the past 24 hours.
While Japan’s Financial Services Agency recently licensed 11 digital currencies exchanges, the highest number of such regulated exchanges in the world as far as we are aware.
Moreover, many shops and businesses have begun accepting bitcoin and other digital currencies. Following the joint venture, customers may now soon enjoy contactless bitcoin payments and contactless cards.
Wirex further says they plan to add other currencies to serve their 900,000 customers with the start-up handling $1 billion in transaction volumes during June 2017.