The growing popularity of cryptocurrency has led to a revolution in the digital currency industry. Enterprises that were of noncrypto origin now have or plan to have their own crypto product. The 10 years of cryptocurrency’s existence has led to an unprecedented ease of transactions. It has also brought transparency into the e-commerce world. This article discusses 10 of the biggest enterprises in the world, without a cryptocurrency background, that have already created or are in the process of investing resources to develop a digital currency they can call their own.
Facebook is reportedly completing efforts to release its own digital currency. Information from Ross Sandler, an internet analyst at Barclays, predicted that the social media giant’s development of a cryptocurrency would potentially generate as much as $19 billion in additional revenue.
The digital currency, Libra, is a project co-founded by Facebook and the Libra Association. This association was also a part of Facebook's numerous projects. The group expects Libra to "empower billions of people." The aim is to use the currency to assist billions of adults without access to bank accounts. Facebook and Libra hope to provide such adults with a currency they can use for transactions. The white paper of Libra describes how project’s wallet provider, Calibra, would function. The white paper says:
"Facebook created Calibra, a regulated subsidiary, to ensure separation between social and financial data and to build and operate services on its behalf on top of the Libra network."
It is noteworthy, though, that Facebook won't be in charge of the cryptocurrency. Instead, it is just one of the Libra stakeholders. However, the social media giant would allow users to use the coin for transactions on its platform.
2. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase is a multinational company based in the United States specializing in investment banking and financial services. JPMorgan Chase is currently rated the world's sixth-largest bank, with total assets of $2.535 trillion. Recently, the financial institution has also turned its attention to the cryptocurrency industry. It is putting the finishing touches on its efforts to create a digital currency for its customers and others. Speaking to Yahoo Finance, JPMorgan Chase's blockchain chief, Umar Farooq, said:
"We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated. As a globally regulated bank, we believe we have a unique opportunity to develop the capability in a responsible way with the oversight of our regulators."
The company also reported that some engineers have already created a coin known as the JPMCoin. This digital token will be used for transaction settlements between the bank's wholesale payments clients. Showing support for the currency, irrespective of his negative attitude toward Bitcoin, CEO Jamie Dimon as well as other top executives at the bank believe that blockchain and regulated digital currencies on it have a promising future they want to explore. This underscores the bank's desire to create a cryptocurrency for its users.
The financial institution has outlined three primary uses of the coin. These are:
- International payments, exclusively for large corporate clients.
- Service for securities transactions.
- Usage by large organizations that utilize the company's treasury services business. The objective is to replace their dollars with the new coin.
Another big company that is considering the digital currency idea is Walmart. The chain store recently applied for a patent for its own cryptocurrency. Previously, Cointelegraph reported that the company may be looking for an alternative payment solution for its users and employees.
Walmart explains that it hopes to provide a "vendor payment sharing system." The system will process any payment for the products sold by the retail store or services it renders to its customers. The currency will be a fiat-backed stablecoin, most likely pegged to the U.S. dollar. The core aim is to speed up transactions while making it a useful tool to pay for food — maybe becoming the perfect replacement for credit or debit cards. Customers could also benefit from another critical function of the coin because, if bonded together with artificial intelligence (AI), it would suggest purchases to customers, taking their preferences and budget into consideration. Although Walmart has yet to name the coin, rumors are flying around that it will be called WalmartCoin.
Coming from the East is the low-budget airline AirAsia. The airline has also confirmed its willingness to explore the fintech sector with its intention to launch its own cryptocurrency: BigCoin. Tony Fernandes, AirAsia's founder and CEO, shed light on the company's desire to own its cryptocurrency. The chief executive explained that the airline plans to explore new markets, starting with the launch of a cryptocurrency with an initial coin offering (ICO).
The CEO went on to tell the world how the company intends to use the coin. He said that the airline would transfer its Big Points loyalty program to the blockchain. He noted:
"We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, we're building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely. We have an ecosystem that enables you to use that currency. There's no point having a currency that can't be used."
This is a part of the founder's efforts to make the company go cashless, and it comes as a response to the fact that the majority of Southeast Asian residents don't work in their home countries. As a result, they move a vast sum of money across the borders via remittances.
If AirAsia succeeds in floating its digital currency, it will go down in history as the first airline to achieve this feat. Then, customers can conveniently use the coin to pay for seat upgrades, flight meals and other related services. The goal is to make that available within the next three to six months.
5. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG)
News from Japan's biggest bank shows that Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group intends to launch a cryptocurrency through its banking arm, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. After devoting a few years to its development, the financial giant will test the MUFG Coin on about 100,000 accounts in 2019.
According to Cointelegraph Japan, Kanetsugu Mike, the president of MUFG, revealed the bank's desire to release a digital currency before the year runs out. Customers are expected to download the bank's app. Once they do, the balance in their accounts will automatically be converted into digital currency.
"Users will be able to use the currency to make payments at places like restaurants, convenience stores and other shops, as well as to transfer the currency to other participants’ accounts."
If this becomes a reality, MUFG will become the largest financial company with a cryptocurrency designed for use exclusively with the institution. The bank is currently the fifth-largest in the world and the largest in Japan.
6. Arias Intel Corp.
Arias Intel Corp. is a technology company with interests in mobile gaming and media. In 2018, the company announced that it was developing a proprietary cryptocurrency, iNEO. The company wanted to create a cryptocurrency that could be used as a standard medium of exchange. Thus, users can use the digital currency to fund smart contract transactions. Additionally, they will be able to use it for purchasing goods and services.
Initially, the coin will be integrated with the apps and mobile games in the company's portfolio. The coin will also have an Application Programming Interface (API) and some other open-source interfaces. The company aims to give other developers a platform on which they can create other revenue opportunities for the tech giant. According to the company, it wishes to leverage the power of blockchain technology to solve security and payment issues, two of the biggest challenges companies have to deal with.
They hope to use the features of blockchain technology to solve compliance and banking problems the cannabis industry currently faces. This is in addition to the ease it provides for supply chain verification. To achieve its goals, Arias Intel Corp. will build the iNEO Protocol, a blockchain system that will enable transactional management by merchants. A point of sale system and the iNEO app will support this quest. The iNEO app enables users to spend their digital currency with ease. Computer code will generate all transactions and funds. Thus, they can't be monitored, tampered with, managed by a third party or manipulated.
Amazon, a giant in retail, is rumored to be in the process of creating a proper digital currency, as suggested by its recent patenting activity as well as the recent registration of crypto-related domains, which include AmazonCryptocurrency.com, AmazonEthereum.com and AmazonCryptocurrencies.com.
Furthermore, the company is already using what is describes as a “digital currency” called the Amazon Coin. Although this coin is not a traditional cryptocurrency, and acts more like a gift card, it may further suggest that this product is a trial for a blockchain-backed solution in the future. Binance crypto Exchange CEO, Changpeng Zhao (aka CZ) does believe that Amazon will inevitably have to create its own crypto.
Amazon's native crypto may eventually help with handling the sale of more than 12 million products listed on the website worldwide. It is also believed that the currency could pave the way for processing more than 600 transactions per second, the actual number of sales Amazon makes per second during its peak sales hours.
It is also hoped that other Amazon — services such as Twitch, Amazon Prime and Audible — will accept the cryptocurrency as well. Once the coin is adopted across its several platforms, it is believed that the retail store won't have any need to keep its region-specific fiat currencies and websites.
Another Asian enterprise with interest in cryptocurrency, Tencent, has launched its coin, QQ Coin.The Chinese conglomerate is a household name in Asia. It is behind WeChat, a chatting platform with some 1 billion daily users. The instant messaging service, QQ, is another project created by the Chinese company. Every month, QQ has over 800 million active users.
In 2005, Tencent launched QQ Coins, which the company initially developed to make online payments for its services and games easier for its users. Over 200 million people were using the coin in April 2014.
After several years of pessimism and hesitation, Google has also joined the growing list of enterprises that are contemplating getting involved in cryptocurrency in the future, which may lead to them creating their own cryptocurrency. It was reported that the company intended to approach Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin for assistance with the blockchain project. When he turned them down, Google made a move for Charles Hoskinson and Duncan Coutts, IOHK CEO and its director of engineering respectively.
The tech giant may gradually be preparing the ground for its digital currency. The company is also interested in Cardano, a digital currency that is known for its scalability, sustainability and robustness. Either way, Google's interest in having a coin it can call its own is indisputable.
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the founders of cryptocurrency exchange platform Gemini, expressed their optimism that Google will join other members of FANG (i.e., Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) to launch its own cryptocurrency. They told CNBC during an interview in July that: "Our prediction is every FANG company will have some cryptocurrency project within the next two years."
Rakuten has also indicated its desire to join the cryptocurrency race. Dubbed the "Japanese Amazon," Rakuten announced its coin, Rakuten Coin, at the Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona in 2018. According to Hiroshi Mikitani, the company's CEO, Rakuten is also making a move to adopt a "borderless" currency although the company has yet to fix a date for the release. Some of these services and businesses include:
- Online shopping.
- Professional sports.
- Credit card and payments.
- Marketing and data analysis.
Once the Rakuten Coin is out, consumers of these services will be able to make transactions with the digital currency. Mikitani added, "Basically, our concept is to recreate the network of retailers and merchants. We do not want to disconnect [them from their customers] but function as a catalyst.”
More enterprises likely to adopt blockchain
Though several enterprises have maintained a neutral position with regard to the use of blockchain, the recent involvement of top players in blockchain is likely to play a pivotal role in helping others change their minds and participate as well.
For instance, some experts believe that things are going to change for the better in the foreseeable future. One of those who holds this opinion is Paul Richard Brody, principal and global blockchain leader at Ernst & Young. He told Cointelegraph:
"There are really two journeys going on here — one is enterprise acceptance of blockchains in general, and the other is the journey from centralized, permissioned services towards truly decentralized, public blockchains. The last year has seen a huge leap in both, and for most encouragingly, a huge shift in the number of users who see the future belonging to public blockchains. I don't see any movement on enterprise adoption of cryptocurrencies, however. Enterprise users are most interested in fiat currency tokens so they can transact on blockchains without using crypto."