Japan-based credit card and payment firm JCB has announced a partnership with tech startup accelerator TECHFUND to explore the idea of a payment system with blockchain options, the company said on Friday (May 15).
It is currently unknown whether the idea will focus on public blockchain or if the idea will just use the accelerator to access entrepreneurs.
TECHFUND isn’t new to the blockchain sphere, having explored helping entrepreneurs with service token offerings in the past. And the startup has a “blockchain-as-a-service” platform that allows companies to access their own solutions with Ethereum, NEO, List and NEM.
JCB, one of the biggest credit card operator in Japan, has also worked with blockchain before, partnering with U.S.-based Paystand for a B2B payments system.
The bank is now also working with Singapore-based Keychain, on a project intended to boost security for next-generation payment systems by using enterprise blockchain. That initiative, announced last December, utilizes the “Keychain Core” central offering and works with the Internet of Things devices and other tablets, phones and computers.
Keychain Core was rolled out last September, earlier than expected, as reports suggested that kind of technology wouldn’t be available for another few years.
JCB reported revenues of $2.8 billion in fiscal year 2018. The company’s cards can be used in 23 countries. The company was formed in 1961 as Japan Credit Bureau, and changed its name to JCB in 1978.
Using blockchain in combination with credit cards isn’t a new idea. Visa has done it with Visa B2B Connect, leveraging blockchain, and Mastercard has rolled out several initiatives using blockchain in some way. American Express uses blockchain for its rewards program.
JPMorgan Chase recently announced a new product, “Coin and Cleaning Networks,” focusing on new age cash management and payments services.
The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a more general interest in cryptocurrency, signaled by JPMorgan’s providing services to U.S. crypto exchanges Coinbase and Gemini.