This week it was reported that the largest bank in the U.S. is planning to launch its own blockchain-based cryptocurrency token. According to reports, the token was created by the bank's in-house engineers and will be used to improve the settlement speed of transactions between the bank's corporate clients, replacing the need for wire transfers. According to Bloomberg, it appears the proposed cryptocurrency would have a value pegged 1:1 with the U.S. dollar and would be transferred on the bank's private blockchain. Also this week, the largest bank in Japan announced that it is partnering with a U.S. fintech firm to build its own blockchain-based payments network, with the goal of launching in 2020. In related news, a major Japanese technology firm confirmed this week that it plans to launch a stablecoin backed 1:1 with Japanese yen sometime this year.

Several payment processors also made announcements this week related to integrating blockchain into their business models. A Hong Kong-based online payment processor announced a partnership with a fintech firm, BNC LedgerTech (BNC), to integrate with BNC's blockchain platform in an effort to cut costs by reducing reliance on banks. Another online payments firm based in the Czech Republic issued a press release this week announcing plans to leverage the blockchain platform of a major U.S. multinational technology company to build a "secure payment system that removes the need for intermediaries, such as correspondent banks and clearing houses." Meanwhile, in Thailand, two payments firms went live this week with cross-border remittance systems underpinned by the blockchain network of a major U.S.-based blockchain technology firm – similarly seeking to streamline clearing and settlement by reducing reliance on the traditional banking system. Finally, according to recent reports, one of the largest banks in the Philippines is planning to launch a cryptocurrency ATM product that would allow customers to convert physical fiat cash into cryptocurrencies, and vice versa.

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