On Friday, JCB announced a strategic partnership with TECHFUND, the technology startup accelerator. The purpose is for the Japanese credit card and payments firm to build a payment system using blockchain. The big question is whether it’s exploring public blockchain or is just using the accelerator to access entrepreneurs.
TECHFUND has some existing blockchain initiatives which may or may not be relevant to the planned payments platform. For example, it helps entrepreneurs with security token offerings and has a blockchain as a service platform to enable startups to create blockchain applications faster using Ethereum, NEO, List and NEM.
We reached out to find out whether the JCB work will involve public blockchains but did not receive a response in time for publication.
JCB is one of the leading credit card issuing companies in Japan and had net revenues of $2.8 billion in FY 2018. As of March 2019, JCB cards can be used in 23 countries.
The firm has previously announced two other blockchain initiatives. For example, in December, it partnered with U.S. payments firm Paystand for a B2B payments system.
Around the same time, it announced a partnership with Singapore blockchain firm Keychain. In that case, the purpose was to use enterprise blockchain for “self-sovereign identity, data-centric security and secure workflows”. The announcement said the aim was to increase the security of next-generation payment systems.
JCB is not the only card firm to explore blockchain for payments. Visa has its VISA B2B Connect, which leverages blockchain. And Mastercard has numerous blockchain initiatives, although it’s unclear whether it uses blockchain in its payments systems. Both were members of Libra but withdrew. Amex uses blockchain for its rewards program.
Meanwhile, on Friday we reported that JP Morgan has a new product line called “Coin and Clearing Networks” which is focused on new age cash management and payments services.