TOKYO -- SBI Holdings plans to issue its own virtual "coins" that can be used by consumers to make payments at stores.
Unlike digital money that assumes the value of an existing currency, the financial services group's coins will be virtual currency and be tradeable on the market.
SBI's proprietary payment platform will apply blockchain technology to make peer-to-peer cash transactions as well as those between people and stores instantaneous. The technology is expected have lower costs than existing payment methods such as credit cards and digital money.
Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are often used for speculative purposes due to large swings in their value. SBI's coins, on the other hand, will be intended for use in payments, and the token is supposed to maintain a stable exchange rate to the Japanese yen.
Starting next spring, SBI's employees will test the virtual coins at stores near the company's headquarters.