Initially, the experiments involve automating payments with the branded digital currency to its 2,500 staff. The payments are for welfare benefits, which employees can then exchange for welfare points or gifts from a catalog created explicitly for the digital currency trial. The company was keen to emphasize the currency cannot be exchanged for Yen.
The aim is to test the scalability and business challenges for payments to a significant number of people. But the end game is not to use it for welfare payments. It’s part of a longer-term vision of how mobility might evolve.
After the employee payments trial, it’s envisaged that the branded digital currency may next be used within its supply chain and for business-to-business transactions.
Parent company Toyota has the Toyota Blockchain Lab, which has trialed blockchain extensively. Its experiments have included identity, advertising, bond issuance and p2p blockchain energy trading using electric car batteries.
The identity solution together with partners, is exploring personal identity, supplier identity as well as vehicle identity.
Meanwhile, Decurret is a well-funded startup with more than $50 million in capital, which has launched a branded digital currency experiment for Daido Life and Kansai Electric Power. It has hosted some heavyweight digital currency study groups in Japan. Back in June, one of the sessions even included Japan’s central bank, the Ministry of Finance, MUFG, SMBC, Mizuho, NTT Data and Accenture.