Crypto Means Business

SBI Holdings Views on Blockchain and XRP: An Interview with Yoshitaka Kitao

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SBI Holdings, Japan’s leading financial services group, is betting big that blockchain technology will become a fundamental force in the global banking system.

In the company’s latest investor update, Mr. Yoshitaka Kitao, executive chairman, CEO and president of SBI Holdings, Inc. spoke passionately about the role of digital assets and, more specifically, XRP.

Ripple Insights got a unique opportunity to connect with Kitao-san after the meeting to learn more about his views.

Why are you so positive about blockchain?

In my opinion, we are bracing for a social revolution with blockchain that’s even bigger than the Internet. Using blockchain for global payments is central to this revolution, and by dramatically reducing transaction costs, financial institutions and all users of the financial system will benefit greatly.

Based on Ripple’s estimate, a bank can reduce the cost of processing remittances by 33% using Ripple’s technology, and by 60% if we couple it with XRP.

What do you think is necessary for digital assets to be adopted by Japanese and global financial institutions?

First and foremost, there needs to be a business reason for financial institutions to use digital assets. This is important. We see digital assets playing an important role in making global remittances faster which is key to our customers in Japan. But the digital asset must be scalable and interoperate across different payment networks.

In addition, the Accounting Standards Board of Japan (ASBJ), which establishes Japanese accounting standards, began full-scale discussions on the accounting rules for virtual currencies. In light of this, we recently brought in a new board member with accounting expertise in order to have a more active role in the rulemaking process. We also recently announced the planned launch of a new Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange to be called “SBI Max”, which will support our attempt to carve out a large presence in the growing global digital currency market.

What makes you believe that XRP is the best digital asset for payments?

Not only does it have a clear use case, XRP is faster, cheaper and more scalable than any other digital asset. I strongly believe it will become the global standard in digital currencies.

What’s your plan for utilizing Ripple’s technology and XRP in SBI’s businesses?

We have already moved aggressively to take advantage of Ripple’s technology, investing in the company in January of 2016, and later launching SBI Ripple Asia (a joint venture) in May of 2016. Very quickly, we launched a consortium of 61 banks, including the top in Japan to use Ripple for both domestic and cross-border payments. And, we are increasingly interested in looking to use XRP for payments.

Ripple is encouraged by the success that innovative financial service companies such as SBI Holdings are having as a result of implementing Ripple’s technology, and is excited to play a key role in helping banks solve payment challenges for their customers. Contact us to see how to connect with other Ripple-enabled banks.

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