New York-based Digital Asset will help Japanese financial giant SBI develop a “smart yen”

SBI Holdings, a Japanese banking and securities giant that launched a crypto asset fund for retail investors last year, has been actively investing in the infrastructure that will allow it to roll out more crypto products. The firm recently made a strategic investment in Digital Asset, a New York-based startup known for creating enterprise blockchain solutions, it said in an announcement. As part of the deal, the pair is launching a joint venture this year to operate in East Asia, which includes Japan and South Korea. The undisclosed round adds to the $300 million in funding that Digital Asset has raised since its founding in 2014 from the likes of IBM and Goldman Sachs, which is tokenizing assets with the help of the blockchain company. The goal of the partnership is to bring programmable money, or digital money that can be coded to act in a certain way based on predetermined conditions, to the Japanese market, Digital Asset said in a separate statement. The programmable money is tentatively called “smart yen” and will use Daml, the smart contract language created by Digital Asset and known for playing a role in the Australian Stock Exchange’s distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. The Hong Kong Stock Exchange is also a client of Daml, which is accelerating the exchange’s liquidations. The smart yen, according to Yoshitaka Kitao, President and Representative Director of SBI Holdings, “will allow us to build a revolutionary, customer-oriented cash system by directly linking each individual customer loyalty program with deposits and fully automating the loyalty process. through smart contracts. The smart money system has the potential to create “additional opportunities for retail banks in Japan to develop innovative offerings such as loyalty programs, coupons and other incentives to drive growth and customer retention,” said Yuval Rooz, co-founder of DigitalAsset. who took the helm as CEO in 2019. Digital Asset is just one of the few investments the Japanese financial outfit has sealed to expand its cryptocurrency business. It made a key acquisition move in mid-May when it took a majority stake in Japanese crypto exchange BITPoint. At the end of 2020, SBI bought the UK-based cryptocurrency trading platform B2C2.