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Tourism Strategy

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Ideathon

2019.02.08

Seventh Ideathon: Masaru Imoto, CEO, Standard Transaction Co., Ltd.

Mr. Masaru Imoto,
CEO of Standard Transaction.
Mr. Masaru Imoto,
CEO of Standard Transaction.

Held Wednesday, December 12, the Seventh Ideathon welcomed as guest speaker Mr. Masaru Imoto, CEO of Standard Transaction.

Dreaming of doing business globally, Mr. Imoto went to the United States after graduating from junior high school. A graduate of California State University, San Francisco (with a major in accounting), he had significant extracurricular activities during his time as a student. He managed four nonprofits in the areas of accounting, finance, exchange students, and employment assistance.

After interning at the San Francisco branch of FXCM, he supported asset management at major banks, investment trust companies, and insurers while working in trade and sales for domestic and international equity derivatives and derivative instruments in the Equity Division of Citigroup Global Markets Japan.

After leaving Citigroup, he founded Standard Transaction Co., Ltd. in October 2017, seeking to build a society in which it is considered a matter of course for people to have sufficient leeway in terms of both money and time.

About Standard Transaction

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Standard Transaction's businesses include the provision of development management services centered on st-Wallet and Quick Buy, distributed database development, and the development of blockchain-based data management platforms. Standard Transaction also seeks to reduce labor requirements in areas such as foreign exchange for travel overseas, investment, and asset management by providing services that integrate nearly all financial systems other than those for loans, including settlement and financial businesses, cryptocurrencies, and micropayments.

Finance and IT

As the name implies, FinTech refers to the fusion of traditional financial services with information technologies: AI, blockchain technology, Big Data, API, and cloud computing. It is widely deployed today for a wide range of routine activities, including smartphone-based payments, settlements, and cryptocurrency. Use has spread among not just the wealthy but ordinary consumers.

With the appearance of ATMs in the 1990s and use of databases and cards for financial information, it became possible to coordinate financial activities over long distances. Following the introduction of online banking and mobile banking in the 2000s, along with automatic credit calculations and algorithm trading, whereby computers engaged in automatic trading by generating forecasts of market trends, the current decade of the 2010s has seen the deployment of various new technologies, including AI, Big Data, blockchains, robo advisors, PEM and low-fee international money transfer.

By 2025, forecasts suggest banks will lose 10-40% of their revenue, as FinTech claims 33% of their current business. Losses in this sector are predicted to surpass 20%. In light of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry data indicating that two billion people worldwide lack bank accounts; that 200 million SMEs in emerging markets are unable to secure funding; and that 45 million people in the US are unable to obtain credit scores, it is clear that users of FinTech and the market for related technologies will grow.

Tourism and blockchain technology

As clearly as “1 + 1 = 2,” a blockchain is a structure for denoting things as absolutes in calculations. An example would be handling of the result “Task A + Task B = Job complete” as an algorithm and setting the equation “Job complete” = “Settlement complete.” While existing e-money systems in Japan such as Suica and PASMO involve credit risks, use of blockchain technology could theoretically eliminate credit risks.

Blockchain technology is based on the Proof of Work rule, which links multiple transactions in a chain. The process can be compared to a very difficult quiz show. By using the irreversibility of figures for individual transactions, it ensures high security, ensuring the absence of fraudulent transactions and false promises, as well as guaranteeing the accuracy and continuity of orders of transactions.

With rapidly growing numbers of foreign visitors to Japan, there are concerns that unexpected concentrations of settlement operations could cause existing settlement servers to fail. Blockchain technology can be used to avoid such a situation. The technology may also increase convenience for travelers—for example, allowing them to pay only for the route completed when disembarking from a bus tour midway, instead of paying for the entire tour in advance, as is common practice now. In these ways, blockchain technology can be expected to drive innovations in the field of tourism as well.

Ideathon

After his keynote speech, Mr. Imoto led an Ideathon. The topic was “dissatisfactions about money.” First, participants listed their own dissatisfactions, then they split into teams, with each team announcing the dissatisfaction it most wants to resolve. Issues teams identified included the irritations of dealing with small change; inconsistencies in cashless services; and cancelation charges for settlement services. In the brief time remaining, participants and Mr. Imoto together considered various potential possible solutions based on blockchain technology.

The program's next guest will be Yukihiro Maru, Representative Director/Group CEO of Leave a Nest Co., Ltd.

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