According to Reuters, an anonymous source who would be familiar with the project would have revealed that Japan is working on the creation of a new international network for payments based on cryptocurrencies, with the aim of replacing the SWIFT network to combat money laundering.
The details of the status of the project’s development and the release schedule are not clear, but the anonymous source claims that the plan is to start using this network in the next few years.
It is not even known how this new cryptocurrency-based network is supposed to work. The only other detail available is that it would not be an all-Japanese project, but rather in collaboration with other countries, with control of the network being assigned to the G7 Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).
In June, the FATF would have approved the plan for the creation of this new network, proposed by the Japanese Ministry of Finance and the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). However, no confirmation of this can be found, though no denials have been put forward yet.
Japan was one of the first countries to accept the use of cryptocurrencies, primarily bitcoin, as a means of payment, so much so that in 2017 it was also the first country to regulate crypto exchanges.
In addition, the fact that blockchain transactions are publicly recorded, albeit anonymously, makes cryptocurrencies a potentially interesting tool for tracking money movements globally, so as to facilitate the analysis by law enforcement agencies of money laundering practices. The traditional SWIFT network does not and cannot allow this.
The G7 finance ministers are meeting in France these days and it is likely that, among other things, they will also discuss digital currencies, not least following the uproar that the Libra case is stirring up.