Japanese investment giant and Ripple partner SBI Holdings (SBI) has invested $15 million in the blockchain smart card wallet producer Tangem, through its subsidiary SBI Crypto Investment Ltd.
The Swiss-based fintech company Tangem introduced its “smart banknote” for digital assets last May. Billed as the world’s first physical manifestation of digital assets, Tangem notes allow users to carry crypto or any other digital assets by enabling off–chain physical transactions to give crypto a cash-like quality. Like cash, a note is controlled by the person who holds it. By handing over the physical card, transactions are immediately validated and completed with zero fees.
The first million Tangem Notes entered circulation in 2018, with a wider rollout planned for this year through vending machines, ATMs, money exchangers and more retail outlets.
Says Yoshitaka Kitao, representative director, president and CEO of SBI,
“The Tangem hardware wallet, which is highly secure and affordable, is an important tool to promote mass adoption of digital assets and blockchain. We believe utilizing Tangem will help stimulate the demand for other blockchain services provided by SBI.“
Kitao is well-known in the crypto and Ripple communities. Speaking at the Japanese Blockchain Conference in Tokyo in 2018, Kitao said he believes that crypto will fuel the next big economic boom in Japan.
— CryptoEri (@sentosumosaba) January 20, 2019
SBI first invested in the blockchain tech company Ripple in 2016, and the two companies jointly own and operate SBI Ripple Asia. As one of the biggest blockchain players in Asia, SBI has built an internet–based financial ecosystem as it expands its digital asset-related ventures to generate mass crypto adoption.
SBI’s crypto exchange VCTRADE began accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP deposits in December.
Market trading is set to begin in March, which will make VCTRADE the first bank-backed, fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange for Japanese residents. The exchange will pair its digital assets directly with the Japanese yen.