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06 November 2017

Wirex and SBI Form a JV to Introduce Bitcoin Cards to Japan

6 November 2017 – London-based cryptocurrency platform Wirex, has formed a Joint Venture with a Japanese financial services company SBI Holdings, further cementing the relationship built upon SBI’s earlier $3M strategic investment into the company. The JV, named SBI Wirex Asia, will soon launch a Yen-denominated payment card that allows Bitcoin users to link their digital wallets to the physical card, which can then be used in tens of thousands of stores and ATMs around the world. It will be the first such product in Japan and one of only a few currently available worldwide.

Wirex has pioneered the technology that allows both Bitcoin enthusiasts and people new to Bitcoin to take advantage of their digital assets in everyday life – such as paying with Bitcoin for a cup of coffee, shopping online and paying bills. Established in 2014, it now offers its products to hundreds of thousands of users in more than 130 countries. With Japan, Korea and other Asian economies taking a global lead in the adoption and regulation of cryptocurrencies, it was a natural step for Wirex to look for partners in the Far East.

Intralink was appointed by Wirex to support the company’s business development efforts in Tokyo and Seoul. Intralink’s Japan team worked closely with Wirex’s executives to develop the right go-to-market strategy and to establish local operations, including appointing Wirex Japan Managing Director, Wataru Kojima.

Wirex’s Co-founder and CEO Pavel Metveev said: “We are delighted with the results of our Japan initiative. Fintech is a young market and so we had to be absolutely certain about our path forward. Intralink helped us understand the market and make an informed decision while supporting us along the way.” Pavel added: “With Japan on the right track, our eyes are now turning to Korea, where fintech and cryptocurrency regulations are following in the wake of Japan. With Intralink’s Seoul team on the ground, we are looking to replicate the Japan model in Korea and launch a Korean Won card with a local partner.”

Not only cryptocurrencies but also other aspects of the fintech spectrum are on the rise in Asia. Dmitry Lazarichev, Wirex’s Co-founder and Co-CEO said: “It is fascinating how quickly Asian markets have become the leaders of fintech adoption. Japan is definitely advancing at the quickest pace – with the government and big private financial institutions fully on-board with cryptocurrencies, blockchain and so forth. Korea is following suit. There is a lot of interest in learning and innovating. Bitcoin’s and altcoin’s recent price hikes also contribute to more and more people wanting to understand and use cryptocurrencies. There is still more to come from China, where the situation is currently unclear, but we will be there when they are ready.”

Pavel Matveev will be a speaker at the upcoming Inside Fintech Conference & Expo in Seoul on November 30 – December 1. We extend our invitation to all interested parties visiting Seoul at the time. Contact Ekaterina Gnezdilova if you would like to arrange a meeting with Pavel.



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