Long gone are the days when crypto coins and digital tokens were solely affiliated with scammers, cyber-attacks and dark web purchases, as of today, an increasing number of banks around the world are beginning to launch their very own digital coins, backed by blockchain technology. Among the key benefits, blockchain and digital tokens promise to bring improved efficiency, speed and cost-savings for both wholesale and retail banking, as well as facilitate cross-border transactions and every day purchases.
JPM Coin (JPMorgan Chase)
JPM Coin is a dollar-backed cryptocurrency announced in February 2019 by JP Morgan Chase as an institution-to-institution service.
JPM Coin is designed to make instantaneous payments using blockchain technology and uses a permissioned blockchain variant of Ethereum called Quorum as the distributed ledger (DLT) platform. Over time, it will extend to other major currencies. In June, the bank announced the beginning of trials of its JPM Coin cryptocurrency in conjunction with corporate clients.
Utility Settlement Coin (USC)
Thirteen of the world’s biggest banks, including Barclays, Santander, BNY Mellon, MUFG, Credit Suisse, KBC, ING and Canada’s CIBC, are looking to launch digital versions of major global currencies in 2020.
The UBS-led research on a “utility settlement coin” (USC) has been in the works since 2015 and focuses on investigating whether wholesale banking could be made more efficient by deploying DLT.
USC will start with 14 owners and members and will be denominated in the US dollar, Yen, Euro and Sterling. The token will work both as a payment mechanism and messenger that carry all required data to complete a cross-border trade.
J Coin (Japan)
A consortium of Japanese banks, led by Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank, has won support from the country’s central and financial regulator to launch the J Coin, an electronic currency to pay for goods and transfer money using smartphones. The digital currency would be ready for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and would be convertible into yen on a one-to-one basis. The service, which would operate via a smartphone app and using QR codes to be scanned in stores, would be provided for free, though banks would benefit from collecting more data on consumer spending patterns.
MUFG Coin (Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ)
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG), Japan’s biggest financial group, announced in February 2016 that it had developed its owned digital currency nicknamed MUFG Coin.
The digital currency, which changed name to Coin in late 2018, is intended to work as a Japanese currency stablecoin and will be available for practical use from the last half of this year, the bank said in April.
Through a smartphone app, users will be able to withdraw money from their bank account, which will then be converted into Coins at a rate of one Coin to one yen. Users will be able to use these for purchases at affiliated stores.
Signet (Signature Bank)
Signature Bank, a New York-based full-service commercial bank, announced in December its digital payments platform Signet.
Designed to enable real-time payments for its commercial clients, the Signet Platform leverages blockchain technology to enable the bank’s commercial clients to make payments in US dollars 24/7 with real-time settlement and no transaction fees.
The Signet Platform opened to commercial clients on January 1, 2019.
Goldman Sachs hasn’t launched a blockchain-backed digital coin yet but could do so in the near future The bank could “absolutely” create its own digital token to settle transactions, All major financial institutions around the world are looking at the potential of ‘tokenization,’ ‘stable wedge,’ and frictionless payments.