Japan Gets Serious on Blockchain Banking

Japan Gets Serious on Blockchain Banking

Fujitsu has been selected as an application development vendor for a field trial exploring the potential use of the Japanese Bankers Association’s (JBA) Collaborative Blockchain Platform(1) as a funds transfer settlement system based on blockchain technology. The trial will be conducted by the Japanese Banks’ Payment Clearing Network, otherwise known as “Zengin – net.”

This field trial, based on the participation of the board of directors(2), will use a dedicated “digital currency” for interbank settlements(3) to evaluate the functionality of the system as an economical new interbank funds transfer settlement system for small-scale transactions using a real time gross settlement (RTGS, 4) method. The participants will also use the trial to confirm the viability of blockchain technology in this context.

Fujitsu will play an instrumental role in this field trial by building and providing the trial’s ICT platform, namely, the new interbank settlement platform, using blockchain technology. It will additionally leverage the P2P money transfer platform(5) it developed in fiscal 2017 with three major banks to generate the money transfers to other banks that will trigger interbank funds transfer settlement.

By participating in this project, Fujitsu aims to establish a new platform that utilizes cutting-edge technology to help realize a cashless society.

Field Trial Details

1. Trial Structure

Operating Entity: Japanese Banks” Payment Clearing Network
Participating Banks: Zengin – net’s board of directors; nine banks:
Mizuho Bank, MUFG Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Resona Bank, The Joyo Bank, THE BANK OF FUKUOKA, THE NISHI-NIPPON CITY BANK, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, The Keiyo Bank
Application Development Vendor: Fujitsu Limited

2. Trial Goal

Conduct a functionality trial of a digital currency as a new system for inter-bank settlement(6) using blockchain technology, as well as to test the practical aspects surrounding the system (such as performance and security) if blockchain technology were adopted, confirming the technology’s viability.

3. Trial Scope

The trial will test a system for inter-bank settlement and value transfer using a digital currency (the issuance, transfer, and collection of the digital currency) in an Inter-bank Settlement platform. (Figure)

Figure: Diagram of the field trial

4. Trial Details

The issuance, transfer, and collection of the digital currency used for inter-bank settlements will be evaluated in the following ways:

Issuance: After receiving a request from a bank, Zengin – net will issue digital currency to the bank on the new Inter-bank Settlement platform.

Transfer: When the necessity of interbank funds transfer settlement arises (in this case, through the use of the P2P money transfer platform), settlement (interbank payment) will be conducted by transferring digital currency from the originator bank to the receiving bank.

Collection: After receiving a request from a bank, Zengin – net will collect the digital currency issued to the bank on the new Inter-bank Settlement platform.

5. Trial Environment

The trial will use a testing environment provided by Fujitsu on the JBA’s Collaborative Blockchain Platform.

(1) Collaborative Blockchain Platform
A collaborative, cooperative field trial environment, established by JBA with the goal of generating and sharing knowledge relating to blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
(2) Board of directors
Please see https://www.zengin-net.jp/company/pdf/directors.pdf (Japanese) for more information on the board of directors.
(3) Dedicated digital currency for inter-bank settlement
This currency (fixed at 1 unit = 1 yen), will be issued to participating banks by Zengin – net, a funds clearing institution. Because RTGS-style interbank settlements will be handled through the use of this digital currency, other funds clearance will not be necessary.
(4) Real time gross settlement (RTGS)
A system in which individual payment instructions are settled in gross, one by one. Leads to reduced payment risk because unsettled payment balances do not build up.
(5) P2P money transfer platform
Fujitsu to Conduct Blockchain Field Trial of Money Transfer Service with Three Major Japanese Banks (press release, October 10, 2017) P2P is a contraction of “peer to peer.”
(6) Settlement
The clearing of claims and debts between banks, generated by money transfer transactions to other banks, via interbank payments.

About Fujitsu Ltd

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company, offering a full range of technology products, solutions, and services. Approximately 140,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE: 6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.1 trillion yen (US $39 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018.

For more information, please see www.fujitsu.com.

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Shayne Heffernan Funds Manager at HEFFX holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.

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