Accounting SaaS provider Money Forward foraying into blockchain and crypto business

L to R: Takuya Nakade (CTO, Money Forward), Junichi Kanda (Executive Director, Business Development and External Affairs)
Image credit: Money Forward

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Money Forward (TSE:3994), the Japanese company providing SaaS (software as a service)-based accounting solutions, announced last week that it is launching a new division called MF Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Lab with the aim to develop new services leveraging such emerging technologies. The new project will be led by Money Forward’s CTO Takuya Nakade in addition to Junichi Kanda, Executive Director in charge of Business Development and External Affairs. Kanda was a former BOJ (Bank of Japan) and FSA (Financial Services Agency of Japan) official but joined the startup in September last year.

The company says it intends to make a blockchain- and cryptocurrency-powered business the third business pillar for them following accounting SaaS platforms for individuals and companies. With curated members among their current employees and hiring new talents from outside the company, it aims to form a new 100-people division within three years. It’s not definite but is likely for the company to apply for a cryptocurrency service operator registration to FSA.

There are a variety of blockchain- or cryptocurrency-powered applications. Given that remittance fee in Japan is higher than other countries, they will probably come up with a remittance service as a targeted one leveraging these technologies. Since the Japanese conventional remittance system has a cost problem and challenges to innovate its mechanism, a possible decentralized version would bring us significant benefits.

The possible blockchain-based remittance service would have high convenience and affinity with the company’s existing businesses which are mainly focused on helping users improve cashflow. Expected use case includes fee-free or low-free remittance service accompanying an automated erasure function upon money reception.

Money Forward has been aggressively pursuing new business after their IPO in August of 2017. The company launched a mobile piggybank app called Shiratama last September, followed by acquiring Klavis, the Japan-/Singapore-based startup behind accounting and book-keeping software Streamed. Also, the company founded a subsidiary called MF Kessai last June, aiming to launch a B2B postpay settlement service.

Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy