UPDATE: We have received information from Softbank's PR that the initial press release was not sent by Softbank Corp and is currently being investigated. We will update when we know more.
Japanese multinational conglomerate Softbank revealed a new debit card that can be used to make both conventional fiat and blockchain-based digital currency payments.
The new product, named simply SBC Wallet Card, features a prepaid debit card, a blockchain-based wallet—that can be used either “hot” or “cold” for blockchain-based transactions according to the announcement—and a small on-card display.
The new debit card allows two-way communication between banks and consumers using the card’s inbuilt telecommunications connection. Commenting on the news, the firm said that the “SoftBank team is making a big break in the blockchain payment arena.”
Softbank said that the Wallet Card provides better security by leveraging its own encryption system embedded in an IoT chip that in turn, uses inbuilt WiFi to transmit blockchain-based transactions. Softbank also revealed that users can toggle between the option to execute both fiat and blockchain-based payments.
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“We are not doing simple cards, but are creating a flexible and faster life of the application scene and the future of payment integration. The SBC we built does not close to other encryption cards. You'll know the black technology only after you used it," said the Softbank SBC Project Leader.
Interestingly, SoftBank said that the new “electronic payment service eliminates the time for block confirmation”. Meaning that digital payments would be instantly settled.
The underlying technology for the card was developed by the US-based payments technology firm Dynamics. The firm, which first unveiled the Wallet Card at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year, has raised $110 million from investors including MasterCard.
This isn’t SoftBank’s first foray into digital payments. Just two weeks ago the Japanese conglomerate announced plans to merge its subsidiary Yahoo Japan with Line Corp—an instant messaging firm that runs Japan’s most widely used digital wallet today. Last year, SoftBank’s subsidiary SBI was also testing out mobile-based blockchain payments using the firm’s native S-coin payments network.
The card is being rolled out this week, and will be supported by payment systems in 10,000 stores across Japan.