Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC Group) said on Friday it is teaming up with blockchain firm HashPort to create a “token business lab” to develop non-fungible token (NFT) and Web3 projects. The move comes just several months after Japan’s biggest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) announced its partnership with Animoca Brands to facilitate “the development of the NFT market.”
SMBC, a financial services institution that runs the second-largest bank in Japan, said it has joined forces with a local blockchain solution provider HashPort to establish a so-called token business lab. The two companies will use the lab to research and develop NFT and Web3 businesses, according to their Friday statement.
HashPort is a Japanese blockchain firm on a mission to “digitize all assets.” The Minato, Chiba-based company offers crypto listing and consulting services to numerous Japanese businesses, including digital asset exchanges. HashPort has three major business divisions.
Through its primary token architect business, HashPort offers system audits on the reliability of blockchain and crypto solutions, consulting services, and developing tokenomics for cryptocurrency issuance. Secondly, HashPort develops cryptocurrency wallet management solutions for major crypto exchanges in Japan. Finally, the company launched an NFT business in March 2020, providing a platform for issuing, managing, and distributing NFTs.
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The partnership between SMBC and HashPort marks the latest major development in Japan’s Web3 space. Earlier this year, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) teamed up with a Hong Kong-based software and venture capital (VC) firm Animoca Brands to develop NFT projects.
MUFG and Animoca announced a partnership to tackle the rapidly-growing global NFT market, with numerous major companies and startups entering the space each day. Japan’s biggest bank said in order to energize the NFT space in Japan, the country first needs to create “an NFT environment in which anyone can trade with ease and peace of mind, just as when they
make everyday purchases.”
“Through this collaboration, MUFG Bank will support the development of the NFT market by leveraging Animoca Brands’ knowhow on digital content and intellectual property rights and NFT market management, as well as our own expertise in customer networks and secure transactions.”
While interest in NFTs and Web3 continues to rise, NFT sales declined steeply last month amid a broader crypto market downturn. According to recent figures, monthly sales on the world’s largest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, were down to just $700 million in June, from $2.6 billion in May and almost $5 billion at the start of the year. The current slump marks a sharp U-turn for the global NFT market after a stellar 2021.
As of June end, the average NFT sale plummeted to $412 from $1,754 at the end of April, according to data from Earlier this month, Google search volume on NFTs sunk to 0 as the general economic turmoil and recession fears continued to weigh on all markets.
Do you think SMBC’s NFT play is too late? Let us know in the comments below.
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