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BY CNA Team - November 22, 2018

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Crypto in the Seven Seas

Japanese shipping line Yusen to introduce digital currency for use by crewmembers
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Crewmembers on board ships belonging to Nippon Yusen KK may not have to worry much about currency fluctuations as the Japanese shipping line is developing a digital currency to pay wages.

Bloomberg says in a Nov 20 report that Japan’s largest shipping line by sales will introduce the digital currency pegged to the US dollar in the first half of 2019.

However, while crewmembers can use smartphones to transact, there are few other details, such as whether the company will use blockchain or be a cryptocurrency variant.

The news wire quoted sources as saying that Yusen is working with banks and software developers to make sure that the digital currency can be converted into local currencies.

Container ships, vital to global trade, sail across the world and multinational crewmembers are exposed to currency volatility.

The use of a digital currency pegged to the greenback lessens the volatility and makes it easier for crewmembers to track and spend their incomes.

A source says Tokyo-based Yusen is seeking a patent for the technology, where tests using shipboard telecommunications such as satellites, have been successful.

Sources also say that the company is interested in turning the digital currency into a service that can be offered to other shippers as well.

Yusen, part of the Mitsubishi conglomerate, either owns or controls around 800 ships, with an average of between 20 and 23 crew to each ship.

Most Japanese shipping crew are either Chinese or Filipino, according to government data.

Image courtesy of NYK Line website.

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