One of Japan's oldest and largest conglomerates is now testing blockchain for rewards points.
According to a blog post from project partner Tech Bureau today, the new trial finds Hitachi exploring how blockchain could be incorporated into its 'PointInfinity' program, a product launched in 2006 that enables its merchants to incentivize and collect data on avid customers.
The test began on 9th February, and will progress with the goal of determining whether a private blockchain could meet the demands of a high-volume transaction system, the post said.
In statements, Tech Bureau CEO Takao Asayama said that he believes the trial could help boost the perception of what he believes could be a powerful use case in Japan, one that he believes appeals to customers and corporates.
Asayama told CoinDesk:
"Since our Mijin blockchain has been tested by banks and other financial services, and proven that it can be applied for ledger systems, Hitachi decided to test our mijin to use it as a ledger engine for their own product."
Asayama went on to project that the use of a blockchain as a distribution mechanism for rewards points could yield big results for enterprise users.
"Our blockchain would help their product to reduce its running cost by over 90%," he said.
For Hitachi, the move marks its latest foray into the industry, following its 2016 announcement that it would explore blockchain applications for its various business lines.
Since then, Hitachi has teamed with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ on a blockchain e-check trial.
For Tech Bureau, this marks the firm's latest enterprise partnership following its $6.5m funding Series A in 2016. The Osaka-based startup oversees a cryptocurrency exchange (Zaif) permissioned blockchain platform (Mijin), aimed at enterprise markets.
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