Major Japanese Bank Bets on Crypto & NFTs

Credit: Alamy

The second largest banking institution in Japan, The Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), is partnering with Web3 company HashPort to develop a wide range of NFT and crypto-related services for customers.

The bank will work with HashPort to expand its Web3 services by setting up what is being called a “token business lab.” The lab will be used to conduct experiments and research related to token businesses, provide NFT services, and ultimately function as an advocate for cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance in Japan.

The bank also noted that they intend to provide consulting support for users interested in the token business and issuing NFTs, and potentially establish its own token business in the future.

HashPort was founded in 2018 by Seihaku Yoshida as a Web3 company that strives to connect Japan with blockchain technology. It facilitates the fast, secure, and cheap movement of digital assets between networks.

SMBC has over 460 branches and an international presence. Although details on the partnership remain sparse, SMBC stated they aim to create an ecosystem with multiple players in the NFT space.

More Banks Enter Web3 and the Metaverse

The Japanese bank isn’t the only major bank to show an interest in Web3, NFTs, and the metaverse. We’ve reported on several major banking institutions and payment companies making use of these existing technologies.

Earlier in the year, Visa, a multinational credit card company launched a program to onboard creatives into Web3 and NFTs. Visa’s Head of Crypto said that the company wanted to support people using NFTs to reach new audiences and create new products and services. The program will welcome filmmakers, artists, musicians, and fashion designers and run for one year.

Next, in February of this year, Mastercard revealed that it was adding a crypto arm to its Data & Services division. The branch will focus on providing high-quality insights to banks, merchants, and fintech companies. It will also provide education, risk assessments, and crypto and NFT strategy and development services. Mastercard even mentioned the implementation of crypto cards and loyalty programs.

Lastly, two months ago, the American bank Capital One filed for three trademark applications related to NFTs, metaverse banking, metaverse business software, metaverse travel services, and virtual credit cards.

While all three examples come from American financial institutions, SMBC’s decision to partner with HashPort to expand its services in Web3 shows that banks around the world understand the possibilities that have been created by the emergence of these nascent technologies. We think it’s likely that many more banks will follow.