Japan's Largest Gift Card Exchange Expanding Internationally With Blockchain Firm

Amaten, a gift card marketplace, partnered with the Singapore-based cloud computing startup Aelf to make digital representations of gift cards.

AccessTimeIconAug 20, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:21 a.m. UTC
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Japan’s largest gift card exchange plans to use blockchain to spur its next phase of growth.

Amaten, a secondary marketplace for gift cards, announced a partnership with the Singapore-based cloud computing startup Aelf, according to a statement published August 20. The exchange plans to scale its operations internationally using Aelf’s enterprise-oriented blockchain platform.

Founded in 2012, Amaten has grown to capture 40 percent of Japan’s gift card exchange volume and takes in approximately $110 million in revenue annually. On a global scale, the gift card industry has ballooned into a $340 billion market.

By converting gift cards to digital assets managed by Aelf's platform, the firm looks to “revolutionize the way gift cards are issued, purchased and exchanged."

"The current system and technology used for gift card[s] is completely obsolete and dates all the way back to the mid 90s,” said Amaten chairman Tom Kanazawa. "It still suffers from basic fundamental shortcomings and is very inconvenient. I believe that the gift card industry can be a perfect use case for blockchain."

Aelf’s blockchain will provide an immutable record of a gift card's issuance and any exchanges of ownership, thereby increasing the transparency of Amaten's platform.

“We have chosen to partner with... Aelf, because they offer the scalability, dedicated sidechains and smart contract modules that we very much need to build our service rapidly and most cost effectively,” said Kanazawa.

The firm also suggests that blockchain may reduce the amount of gift cards that go unspent.

“Through the partnership with Amaten, we are hoping to pioneer the adoption of blockchain solutions within the traditional industries,” says Aelf’s Co-Founder and COO, Zhuling Chen.

The Asian Crypto Landscape panel at Token Summit III in NYC. Left to right: Nick Tomaino (1Protocol), Vansa Chatikavanij (OmiseGo), Gordon Chen (FBG), Jason Fang (Sora Ventures) and Zhuling Chen (Aelf)

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