Japanese internet services giant GMO Internet Inc. has today launched a new internet banking business that will leverage blockchain as a central part of its technological arsenal. The news comes from a company announcement Tuesday, July 17.
The project has reportedly been in the works since July 2016 via the ‘GMO Aozora Net Bank,’ in which GMO Internet, GMO Financial Holdings and Aozora Bank are joint investors.
According to today’s announcement, blockchain will feature as a key component of the new venture, alongside other cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT).
GMO says it believes the new venture has “a high potential for increasing corporate value in the future.”
According to Finance Feeds, the new banking strategy will be open to GMO’s corporate and retail clients, tailoring core banking services such as deposits and exchange for e-commerce businesses, as well as offering products developed with partner securities firms.
The Tokyo-headquartered internet services provider declared ¥43.705 billion (around $387.5 million) in net sales in the first quarter of 2018, up 17.5 percent from a year before.
GMO’s decision to harness blockchain technology at the center of its new internet banking venture is in keeping with its significant prior investments in the crypto and blockchain space.
The company already runs its own GMO Coin crypto exchange, a major mining operation and has even embraced paying a portion of its staff payslips in Bitcoin (BTC).
This March, GMO Coin pledged to improve its data security after local regulators identified shortcomings during a cross-industry probe that followed the high-profile $530 million hack of Japanese exchange Coincheck in January.
Most recently, the company has announced it will be debuting its Bitcoin-based application for in-game rewards — dubbed ‘CryptoChips’ — this August.