Japan\u2019s largest gift card marketplace to use blockchain technology

Japan’s Amaten gift card marketplace intends to integrate blockchain technology in its operations, the company has revealed in a press release. The company, which is the largest such marketplace in Japan, has partnered with Singaporean decentralized cloud computing startup, Aelf. Amaten plans on using blockchain technology to advance into international markets such as China and South Korea.

Founded in 2012, Amaten was the first gift card exchange in Japan. The company has grown by leaps and bounds and today boasts of over 132,000 active users. In 2018, the company processed almost 1 million transactions, registering over $110 million in revenue.

Gift cards, in their current form, are difficult to issue and redeem. Gift cards issuers have to issue them in physical form which are hard to manufacture, distribute and track or in digital form which lacks verification and security against malicious attacks. Amaten plans on using blockchain technology to eliminate these inefficiencies.

The company stated, “By onboarding blockchain technology and converting the traditional forms of gift cards into digital assets managed and exchanged on blockchain, Amaten is introducing transparency and traceability to the original issuer and any exchanges that occur between the end users.”

The gift card industry has grown greatly in recent years, currently estimated to be worth over $340 billion. Japan is one of the major global players, contributing over $21 billion. Amaten is looking to pioneer the use of blockchain technology to revolutionize this fast-growing industry.

The company’s chairman, Tom Kanazawa stated, “The current system and technology used for gift card is completely obsolete and dates all the way back to the mid 90s. It has never evolved to match today’s digital world. 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.”

The gift card industry has continued to integrate blockchain technology and gift cards into operations as it seeks to grow beyond its traditional confines. In February, major digital gifting platform Swych announced that it would be accepting payments in crypto. Swych has partnerships with over 600 major brands including Nike, Bed Bath & Beyond and Best Buy.

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