Japan’s Sony Bank tests yen-backed stablecoin for gaming and sports IP payments

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The Japanese Sony Bank — the financial business unit of the Sony Group Corporation — said it has begun experimenting with issuing its own stablecoin pegged to fiat currencies, such as the yen. 

According to a report from local media outlet Nikkei on April 4, the trial is set to occur on the Polygon blockchain and in collaboration with the Belgium-based blockchain company SettleMint.

The reports were confirmed by Jun Watanabe, the president and representative director of Sony Network Communications, in a post on X.

Source: Sota Watanabe

Sony Bank said it will be assessing any legal issues that may be tied to transferring yen-backed stablecoins. It anticipates these experiments will stretch out over the next few months. 

The banking firm said by utilizing stablecoins, they could potentially take advantage of lower fees for individuals when sending money and making payments.

It also said it would consider it as a form of payment for businesses that use intellectual property (IP) owned by the Sony Group, including games and sports.

The Sony Group has recently been experimenting with incorporating other Web3 technologies in its operations, as its video game division filed a patent in March 2023 to adopt nonfungible tokens (NFTs), in an initiative it called “NFT framework for transferring and using Digital Assets between game platforms.”

This move was in an effort to provide its gamers with more opportunities associated with their in-game assets.

Related: Sony developed an AI system to create fantasy NPC personas from dialogue

In September 2023, Sony Network Communications entered into a venture with Singapore-based Web3 infrastructure developer Startale Labs to build Sony’s own blockchain network. 

At the time, Watanabe said the company aspires to create a global infrastructure that “underpins the Web3 era” and drives innovation across existing industries. The blockchain is anticipated to launch sometime in 2024.

In a post on X on April 5, Watanabe said that the fastest way to onboard “billions” into Web3 is to work with existing assets.

Source: Sota Watanabe 

Japan, Sony’s home country, has also been leaning into the Web3 community in the last year. In February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) said that it is aiming to increase strategic domestic investments into Web3 startups by allowing limited partnership (LP) firms to acquire and hold crypto assets. 

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