Japan Financial Group SBI Strengthens Commitment to Cryptocurrencies

SBI Group, a financial services company based in Tokyo, is increasing its commitment to cryptocurrency and blockchain space with several bold initiatives unveiled this week.

SBI Holdings, the entity that holds most of the group’s businesses and companies, has signed a deal with London-based bitcoin debit card company Wirex to launch a joint venture. SBI Holdings previously invested US$3 million into Wirex’s subsidiary in Japan via its Fintech Fund.

The new company, called SBI Wirex Asia, seeks to deliver a Japanese cryptocurrency payment card and further plans to develop other co-businesses in the field of cryptocurrencies, blockchain and payments.

Wirex serves some 900,000 customers in 130 countries, enabling them to spend their cryptocurrencies on the Visa network around the world.

The deal with SBI Holdings will allow Wirex to strengthen its position in Japan and Asia with products and services specifically designed for these markets, said Pavel Matveev, founder and CEO of Wirex.

“Japanese customers are our most enthusiastic supporters and use our Visa 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,” Matveev said.

In addition to its deal with Wirex, SBI has also unveiled plans to establish “a new financial ecosystem based on cryptocurrency.”

In its latest financial report, the firm detailed its plan. SBI’s cryptocurrency efforts involve entering into the cryptocurrency mining business, “an activity unevenly distributed in China,” establishing means of utilizing cryptocurrencies, providing institutional investors with cryptocurrency investment opportunities, and establishing a dominant cryptocurrency exchange platform.

SBI Virtual Currencies, a company the group established to operate a cryptocurrency exchange platform, was granted a Virtual Currency Exchange license by the Financial Services Agency in September. The exchange is expected to support the trading of BTC, XRP, JPY and USD.

Another of SBI’s ventures is called SBI Crypto and was established in August to focus on cryptocurrency mining. The company is currently in preparations for Bitcoin Cash mining overseas.

SBI Group said it will “acquire cryptocurrency share through mining in order to stabilize the market.”

The firm also plans to launch a remittance solution utilizing blockchain technology for financial institutions in South Korea. This would be done through a partnership with DAYLI Intelligence, a fintech company from South Korea.

A separate partnership with Siam Commercial Bank would allow for the launch of the first remittance service between Japan and Thailand that utilizes Ripple. The solution would enable users to send money from Japan to Thailand in less than five seconds compared to the current one to two business days.

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