Il Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI) and a railway company based in Osaka are issuing one local cryptocurrency for use in a popular tourist area of Mie Prefecture, Japan.
The token, called Kintetsu Shimakaze Coin, will use the blockchain and will be available only from 11 November to 31 January next year, and will be the fourth unit of this type created by MRI, which has long been at work to refine technology and develop relevant processes, procedures and services.
The experiment has for the moment a very limited range of action and will concern only the Ise-Shima region, a peninsular area known for its beaches, seafood, pearl cultivation and a national park. Only 15 plants in the region will accept the cryptocurrency, including Shima Spain Village, Miyako Resort Shima Bayside Terrace, Kashikojima Espana Cruise and the Makonde Art Museum.
However, even if the token will be temporary and only for this pilot phase, Kintetsu hopes to eventually issue a permanent cryptocurrency to be used along its railway lines.
As for the methods of use, in order to use the cryptocurrency, a stable coin anchored to the Japanese yen, users must download the Kintetsu Shimakaze Coin application for registration. They will then be able to regenerate 1.000 yen blocks, paying a 10% premium, up to 100.000 yen in total. Money transfers will also be possible between the participants in the project: at the end of the trial period, the coin will be withdrawn and cannot be used.
The group Kintetsu, the local company that collaborates with MRI, is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and owns transport goods, including lines in the target area of the program. MRI will instead be responsible for the issue and management of the tokens.
Kintetsu and MRI have been collaborating for two years for the issue and management of local cryptocurrencies. The first Kintetsu Harukas Coin social experiment was conducted in September and October 2017 to test a block chain technology payment system.
The second social experiment Kintetsu Harukas Coin was instead conducted in October and December 2018 in Osaka to test the QR code technology and introduce person-to-person transfers. Mitsubishi UFJ and Omron Corporation participated. In February 2019, the two companies tested a local currency around Osaka's Uehommachi station.