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Japanese company working on e-money and cryptocurrency 'wallet'

IIJ says its service would make digital currencies more convenient

TOKYO -- Internet Initiative Japan is working on a platform that would allow traders of cryptocurrencies and users of electronic payment systems to manage all of their digital cash with a single online account.

The push comes as Japanese banking services are working on their own cryptocurrencies. 

IIJ thinks its service will provide convenience to consumers who dabble in a number of cryptocurrencies and e-payment platforms.

The Tokyo-based internet service company earlier this month set up a corporation named DeCurret that will operate the new service. Names of 20 or so shareholders include Itochu, a big trading house; East Japan Railway, a commuter rail company better known as JR East that covers Tokyo; Bic Camera, a chain of big-box electronics stores; Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ; Nippon Life Insurance; Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance; and Nomura Holdings, a financial house.

After consumers open an online account, they will be able to trade currencies, make payments, send money to friends and otherwise manage their "wallet."

The new company intends to start digital currency exchange and settlement services by the end of March 2019. In the year through March 2020, it plans to allow users to exchange cryptocurrencies for e-money.

The company might also form partnerships with e-commerce websites. 

The Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group is currently developing MUFG Coin, one of which is to be worth 1 yen (not quite 1 cent). The new company could let MUFG Coin holders replenish or renew their Suica train passes with the MUFG cryptocurrency.

But before any of this happens, the company will have to successfully wade through a bog of regulations that e-money providers must abide by.


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