Japan’s Banking Giant MUFG Plans to Launch Blockchain Payment Network in 2021

Japanese banking giant MUFG plans to launch its blockchain payment network across the country in 2021 with U.S.-based fintech company Akamai.

Nov 20, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:33 a.m. UTC

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), one of the largest banking institutions in Japan, is set to launch its high-speed blockchain payment network with the U.S.-based tech firm Akamai in 2021. 

MUFG and Akamai aim to provide cheaper and more efficient payment services via their joint venture Global Open Network (GO-NET). The network will integrate payment terminals from electronic device manufacturer Seiko Holdings with the bank’s credit card company MUFG NICOS in February, CoinDesk Japan reported. GO-NET initially announced the launch of the payment services to be in the first half of 2020. 

The network also plans in July of next year to start a service allowing customers to buy canned and bottled beverages at some vending machines in Japan by placing a credit card on a machine reader. GO-NET said its payment platform can process 100,000 transactions per second, which exceeds Visa's processing capacity of about 70,000 per second. According to GO-NET, the platform can be expanded to reach as high as 10 million transactions per second for small payments.

Founded in May 2018, GO-NET is a joint venture between MUFG and Akamai, with the bank owning 80% of the firm’s stake. The collaboration between the two companies in developing the payment platform started as early as 2016, according to CoinDesk Japan. 

While MUFG can leverage its existing financial services to increase the adoption of the network, Akamai helps GO-NET build its infrastructure with around 280,000 servers in 136 countries and the blockchain technology that comes with a native wallet.

MUFG has been working on its own digital currency, MUFG Coin, for several years. It is unclear if the blockchain payment network is related to the bank’s coin initiative. 

GO-NET expects the payment services to be fully functional across Japan by the summer of 2022. 

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