In Japan, most payments involve paper bills and metal coins. The country has an estimated $18 billion a year in costs related to cash registers, vehicles to move money and “probably over 200,000” ATMs according to MIT Technology Review. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants 40% of payments to be cashless by 2025 and in August, the government announced plans to offer tax breaks and subsidies for companies that get on board.
Japan’s third largest bank, MUFG has teamed up with Akamai, a U.S. based content delivery network and cloud service provider, to build a blockchain-based consumer payment network in time for the 2020 Olympics. MUFG and Akamai claim that in tests the network has been able to handle more than a million transaction per second, with each transaction confirmed in two seconds, which would be faster than both Visa’s network and Bitcoin. With hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors bringing billions of dollars to spend, a blockchain-based consumer payment network could be the upgrade necessary to fully prepare Japan’s financial system.