Yoshitaka Kitao, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings, has proposed Ripple partner with multinational companies in addition to financial institutions. His recommendation was partially influenced by Japan’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kitao, also a Ripple board member, talked to reporters gathered for an SBI conference call on April 28. The CEO said that his lawyers would attend Ripple’s next executive committee and asked them to promote new partnerships with multinational corporations like Big Shosha, a Japanese trading company. 

"By adding multinational companies to the Ripple network and not just financial institutions we can expect [the number of cross-border payments] to grow exponentially." 

Blockchain solutions to COVID-19

Kitao expects the application of blockchain for supply chain management to be a more pressing issue in the world following the coronavirus, saying SBI had seen a “disruption in the supply chain” for essential supplies during the pandemic:

"We realize how dependent we are on China for the supply of masks. We are in serious trouble."

Kitao thinks having transparency and traceability, which Ripple offers, will be more important in the future. 

"You will have to operate multiple supply chains with some flexibility and think about which countries are better equipped to deal with a pandemic. Also, you need to figure out which countries make information freely available and cooperate with others around the world..."

SBI and Ripple partnership

The two firms have worked closely in the past, with SBI Holdings an active partner of Ripple via their joint venture SBI Ripple Asia, which was formed to promote XRP usage in Asian financial markets in 2016.

In addition to being a member of Ripple’s board of directors, Kitao is known for his friendship with Satoshi claimant Craig Wright. 

Hisashi Oki of Cointelegraph Japan contributed to this article