Japan’s top shipping firm to launch native digital currency for its crew
Japan’s top container shipper Nippon Yusen KK (NYK) will reportedly launch its own digital currency for its crew members. The currency will allow them to easily send and convert money into local currencies, according to a Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the matter.
The report mentioned that the shipping giant’s digital currency will be pegged to the U.S. dollar. However, the report pointed out that it was not clear if the new digital currency will use blockchain technology or if it will be a cryptocurrency variant.
NYK owns or controls around 800 ships, which have around 20 to 23 crew members each. “Each vessel usually has about $40,000 to $60,000 aboard to cover salaries and cash-based expenses. A majority of the seafaring workers for Japanese shippers is Filipino or Chinese, according to data from Japan’s transport ministry,” the report stated.
According to Bloomberg sources, the shipper will work with banks and software developers to ensure the smooth conversion of its digital currency into local currencies. The company has reportedly conducted successful tests using shipboard telecommunications, and is now looking to patent the technology.
Crew members are usually paid in cash or their salary is transferred into a bank account. Since they hail from different countries and often need move money from one country to another, the introduction of the digital currency will make it easier for them to track and spend the money.
According to the report, the digital currency is set to be launched in the first half of 2019. Apart from paying its own workers with the digital currency, the company is looking at offering this service to other shippers.
NYK’s decision comes in the wake of increasing adoption of blockchain technology by port operators and shipping authorities all over the world. Earlier this month, nine well-known terminal operators and shipping lines signed a deal to launch an open digital platform based on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
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