The project is supported by Japan's central bank and regulators.
Japan is hoping to launch its own digital currency called J-Coin.
Business Insider reports that a consortium led by Mizuho Financial Group and Japan Post Bank hopes to launch J-coin in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Supported by Japan’s central bank and regulators, the new national digital currency will make paying for goods and services through smartphones easier.
J-Coin will be exchanged at a one-to-one rate with yen.
Although 70% of all transactions in Japan are in cash, the cost of retaining it is high. The Business Insider states that banks need to pay to handle, transport and audit cash. Furthermore governments could potentially lose tax revenue through undocumented cash-in-hand transactions.
By using J-Coin, the banking consortium estimate ¥10 billion could be added to the economy.
As well as Japanese banks, international banks such as HSBC, Barclays, UBS, and Santander are developing a digital “Universal Settlement Coin” to make trading easier.
The Bank of Korea is also aiming to make the society cashless by 2020.