Japanese Firms Test Blockchain for E-Check Management

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and tech giant Hitachi are working on a blockchain proof-of-concept aimed at digitizing checks.

Aug 22, 2016 at 4:31 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:27 p.m. UTC

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and tech giant Hitachi are now working on a blockchain proof-of-concept aimed at e-check management.

The prototype system, according to the two companies, seeks to create a digital platform for "issuing, transferring and collecting electronic checks". Nikkei reports that further trials are expected to take place in the coming days, and that a full-scale version could see wider release in 2018.

Hitachi said in a statement:

"Using the system, BTMU issues and settles checks and some of Hitachi Group companies in Singapore receive the electronic check and deposit the funds. Through the PoC testing, Hitachi and BTMU will be able to identify issues from various perspectives such as technology, security, operation and legal perspectives and aim to realize new FinTech services including digitalization of checks."

The project's disclosure comes months after Hitachi announced the formation of a R&D laboratory focused on FinTech, including blockchain. At the time, the firm had only recently become a member of the Hyperledger project, the Linux Foundation-led initiative focused on commercial blockchain applications.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ has invested notable resources already in the blockchain industry, investing in Coinbase and taking part in a series of trials based on the technology.

Thus far, the bank has explored use cases such as promissory note trading and digital currency.

Digital check image via Shutterstock

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