Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group plans to carry out a large-scale trial of its own digital currency as early as next year, according to local press reports.
NHK Japan says the bank plans to conduct the test of MUFG Coin with around 100,000 account holders with a few select merchants in Tokyo.
The currency, which is pegged 1:1 to the Japanese Yen, can be downloaded to smartphones and used for P2P funds transfers and for online shopping.
The giant Japanese bank initially began work on the project in Autumn 2015, envisaging the currency as a universal unit of exchange for transactions conducted over a distributed ledger.
Japan's banks have been exploring ways to cash in on the local population's love affair with alternative cryptocurrencies and fight off the threat from Chinese dragons like Alibaba and Tencent.
Reports surfaced in September of last year that a consortium of banks, led by Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank, had won support from the country’s central bank and financial regulator to launch the J Coin, an electronic currency to pay for goods and transfer money using smartphones. The intention was to roll out the currency in time for the 2020 Olympics.
Discussions have been ongoing between the top banks about the possibility of MUFG joining the J Coin initiative.