Companies collaborate to develop common platform for digital assets

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Seven Japanese companies, including financial institutions Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp., Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co., have decided to consider establishing a joint venture company that will aim to develop a common infrastructure for digital asset transactions. The new venture is expected to be established in September 2023 at the earliest.

As next-generation internet services such as the metaverse virtual space have increasingly become popular, the collaboration has looked for ways to create a new digital infrastructure for Japanese companies to be competitive globally.

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust will spin off the digital platform Progmat, which it owns, and each collaborating company will invest in the new venture firm. Other participants include Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., NTT Data Corp., SBI PTS Holdings., and JPX Market Innovation & Research Inc.

The Progmat platform is used for exchanging digital assets, such as securities and crypto assets, using blockchain technology, which is difficult to tamper with because transaction records are linked like a chain and shared.

The system is designed to almost automatically complete the entire process from issuance to distribution and settlement. By sharing a common platform, users will not need to use multiple applications or software to settle and manage their digital assets. The collaboration of major companies is also expected to improve security, such as dealing with cyber-attacks and system failures.

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust has been using Progmat for the digital securitization of real estate and plans to issue Japan’s first stablecoin, the value of which is linked to legal tender, called Progmat Coin, next spring.

The motivation for the collaboration is the anticipation of the expansion of services using the next-generation of the internet, known as Web 3.0, which will utilize the metaverse and non-fungible tokens in the near future.

The firms joining th venture believe it is necessary to establish a cross-industry transaction infrastructure. They will also incorporate the know-how of IT companies and securities trading firms in order to improve software development capabilities and develop a distribution market,

The global metaverse market is expected to expand from $38.9 billion in 2021 to $678.8 billion in 2030. The four major U.S. IT companies known collectively as GAFA are already accelerating the development of related technologies.