All hands on deck: Japanese shipping company to develop digital cash

Osaka, JAPAN – A shipping and logistics company based in Japan—Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), has recently made it known that it will launch a digital currency soon with the aim to pay staff and crew members.

Full details on how the company intends to roll out this plan is still unavailable to the public. The company is however still in the process of getting a patent for the technology after which it will offer it to managers, owners and perhaps potential investors. NYK will float a stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar to avoid wild swings in value. Speaking to Bloomberg, an unidentified source claims that “the goal is to make it easier for seafaring workers to manage, send and convert money into their local currencies.”

The current process of payment using FIAT is both costly and time consuming. NYK has staff and crew members based at different ports across different countries and, since the company is based in Japan, payments are usually made in Japanese Yen. Data from the country’s transport ministry reveals that a majority of the company’s employees are Filipino or Chinese.

NYK’s overseas workers are then required to exchange cash into their local currency upon receiving it. International bank transfers could also take a few days to go through, whereas use of this proposed stablecoin will considerably reduce the duration. Yusen’s initiative, which utilises smartphones, is reported to kick off in the first half of 2019.

NYK’s fleet comprises of about 800 ships complete with 20 to 23 crew members per ship. Each vessel reportedly holds about US$40,000 to US$60,000 on board to cover crew expenses and salaries.