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One of Japan’s Largest Banks Just Unveiled NFT Plans

BY Jex Exmundo

July 27, 2022

When was the last time you heard of a strictly Japanese NFT project? How many Japanese NFT artists can you name that are making major waves in the space?

Of course, there is the 9-year-old Zombie Zookeeper. However, NFTs really haven’t been met with much enthusiasm in Japan. And honestly, this is pretty surprising.

For starters, there’s an upcoming NFT collection based on the Hello Kitty franchise, and a number of prominent Japanese game developers have already jumped into the space. Case in point, Square Enix is launching an NFT for the universally beloved dieselpunk classic Final Fantasy VII. However, the reception that even these big names have received has been rather tepid.

Aside from the popularity of Axie Infinity in the nation, there hasn’t been much enthusiasm for NFT projects in Japan. But that may soon change —- in the financial sector, at least.

Japanese banking institution Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) just announced that it is working on bringing a range of NFT and crypto-related services to its millions of customers in Japan. Its first steps? Promoting Web3 itself.

Assisting in SMBC’s first steps into Web3 is Hashport. HashPort describes itself as a developing solution provider that supports the social application of blockchain with the mission of “digitizing all assets”. They provide new cryptocurrency listing-related services and consulting services, and also have their own blockchain system and NFT platform, which will all be fully utilized in SMBC and HashPort’s upcoming business token lab.

Ultimately, through this lab, SMBC hopes to engage its vast customer base in surveys, conduct research, and function as an advocate of cryptocurrencies and NFTs alike in Japan. Notably, SMBC hopes the research and data gathered by its business token lab, as well as its efforts in promoting decentralized finance locally, will enable it to establish its very own token business in the near future.

SMBC also indicated that it has an interest in providing Web3 consulting services to its customers down the line. The company also notes that it eventually plans to issue NFTs to its customers. However, exactly what NFTs these may be remains to be seen.

With Japan’s dominance in the art, entertainment, and video game industries, wider Web3 adoption and acceptance among Japanese consumers and companies alike may stand to benefit the world at large.

Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect Hashport’s correct website link, and more clearly explain its role in assisting SMBC.

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