Japan’s Largest Gift Card Marketplace Launching Blockchain Gift Cards

Japan’s largest gift card platform Amaten will issue tokenized gift cards in partnership with blockchain network provider Aelf.

United Kingdom news outlet Verdict reported on Aug. 20 that Amaten has partnered with Aelf — one of the 30 blockchain providers certified by the China Electronics Technology Standardization Institute — to issue gift cards on the blockchain. Amaten plans to build its framework on top of Aelf’s platform to tokenize its gift cards, enabling them to be exchanged and managed on the blockchain.

Gift cards and blockchain: “A completely natural fit”

Amaten and Aelf want to decrease fraud by enabling gift cards to be tracked from issuers to customers.

Tom Kanazawa, the chairman of Amaten, says the current technology used to issue gift cards is obsolete and has failed to keep up with today’s digital world, adding:

“It still suffers from basic fundamental shortcomings and is very inconvenient. I believe that the gift card industry can be a perfect use case for blockchain. The two are a completely natural fit.”

Verdict claims that the gift card industry is currently worth $340 billion globally, and $21 billion in Japan. While Amaten intends to initially launch its blockchain platform in Japan, the company also plans to expand overseas, beginning in Korea and China.

According to a news release, Amaten is Japan’s biggest gift card marketplace, and it was the first entrant to the market when it launched in 2012. Last year, it processed almost one million transactions and had 132,000 active users — with an annual revenue of $110 million.

As Cointelegraph reported in July, major U.S. cryptocurrency wallet and exchange Coinbase has entered the crypto gift card market, allowing customers in certain countries to exchange coins for brand e-certificates.