A consortium of Japanese banks is planning to launch a new national digital currency J-Coin by 2020 — just in time for the Tokyo Olympics, Financial Times reports.
The new project has the support of Japan's central bank and regulators.
It aims to develop technology to allow Japanese people to pay for goods and services with their smartphones and to be less dependant on cash, which currently represents 70% of all transactions by value in Japan.
Banks must pay to handle, transport, and audit large amounts of cash, while governments risk losing tax revenue to undocumented cash-in-hand work or black market transactions.
The consortium of banks estimate that the adoption of a new digital currency could add ¥10 billion ($90 million; £67 million) to the economy.