SBI has invested in Digital Asset with the aim of creating a joint venture company in Japan for programmable money.
The JV is expected to formally launch late in 2022 and operate under equal ownership within the Japanese and East Asian markets.
The newly created 'smart yen' programme will utilise Digital Asset's cross-blockchain smart contracts and applys them to programmable money — a digital currency that has been coded to move between parties when predetermined conditions are met. The technology is implemented as an overlay to the existing payment infrastructure, enabling the execution of condition-based payments or reward programmes automatically.
Yoshitaka Kitao, president and representative director of SBI Holdings, comments: “Digital Asset has excellent technology and business concepts. A new cash concept, ‘smart yen’, will make it possible to build a revolutionary, customer-oriented cash system by directly linking each individual customer loyalty program to deposits, and fully automating the process of providing loyalty through smart contracts. We expect to further accelerate the SBI Group’s digital transformation by actively introducing Digital Asset’s technology, including the stablecoin 'smart yen' concept.”
SBI’s investment follows Digital Asset’s Series D financing round which closed in April, 2021 and brought in $120 million of capital from private equity firms 7Ridge and Eldridge.