Industry > Trend

Toyota’s IT subsidiary is experimenting with cryptocurrencies

Paper money may soon be a thing of the past for the Japanese automaker

With the rising need for contactless transactions, digital solutions like blockchain have become more relevant. IMAGE FROM TOYOTA

Digital currencies and blockchain-based services are increasingly on the rise. What once was just a niche product for hardcore nerds and enthusiast programmers has turned into a field of science and technology that sees more and more big names becoming interested. The latest firm to dip its toes into crypto currency waters is Toyota, or its IT subsidiary Toyota Systems to be precise. In a recent news release, the technology specialists with offices in Tokyo and Nagoya describe an experiment that is currently being conducted with the help of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange DeCurret. The research could lead to changes in the way business transactions and supply chain management is carried out.

Using DeCurret’s white label token, a Toyota-branded digital currency is currently being trialed in a pilot scheme that will see 2,500 employees take part. The digital money is being used to pay certain company benefits and recipients can exchange the currency for benefits points or gifts from a catalog. An exchange into flat money, in this case Japanese yen, is not yet possible. The experiment uses DeCurret’s blockchain-powered platform that allows users to issue and manage digital currencies, with the main goal being to evaluate scalability issues for peer-to-peer solutions. The Toyota Systems token will expire six months after the start of the trial, but we may well see similar products and services pop up again in the future.

There are numerous advantages to using cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based payment solutions, including heightened security and increased transparency. Several companies are looking to, or already using blockchain technology to manage their supply chains and Toyota themselves founded a Blockchain Lab in April of 2019 to explore this technology more. This sort of research clearly plays into the bigger strategy pursed by the company that includes things such as a whole city to try out new technologies, and with cryptocurrencies become ever more mainstream, you may just buy a Toyota with digital money in the not too distant future.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring. He writes the aptly named ‘Frankly’ column.