Money Forward, the operator of one of Japan’s most popular personal budgeting apps, has abandoned its plans to launch multiple crypto projects, including a digital asset exchange, per a Cointelegraph report.
Money Forward established a new subsidiary, MF Financial Co., last year to launch a crypto media platform, then followed by a crypto platform and a digital assets remittance and settlement system. In the future, the company also planned to create a number of more advanced solutions for working with cryptocurrencies, including automated payment systems and various analytical tools.
This attitude, however, is changing in 2019 after a prolonged crypto winter hit the crypto startups’ fortunes. Although Money Forward has worked to fulfill the regulatory requirements with their app, the company has decided to withdraw its registration application with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
The board of Tokyo-based company reportedly still sees the regulatory environment as ambiguous, while news of crypto exchanges hacking only added to the misery.
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Japanese fintech-company was also planning to link its crypto exchange to its popular personal financial management service, called Money Forward Me, which has 7 million users.
Institutional interest in crypto eases
While Money Forward has scrapped its crypto ambition, it’s actively exploring blockchain initiatives in other areas but is not yet ready to announce anything substantial publicly. The firm says it will continue its blockchain development and research as it believes the nascent technology has more potential for success in its core areas.
Money Forward is not the only big player ditching plans to delve into cryptocurrencies space as other more established companies halt similar initiatives as the regulatory framework for crypto remains unclear.
Although they were not a part of the ecosystem yet, but to the extent that they represent the institutional herd, this is a negative.
However, other Japanese blue chips continue to move towards developing their own cryptocurrencies or adopting the underlying technology to streamline operations and wean the Japanese off their heavy dependency on cash. For example, Japan’s biggest lender, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) announced earlier this year plans to test a new cryptocurrency called MUFG Coin, which promises to create a borderless shopping experience.