Japan’s Amaten partners with aelf to launch blockchain gift card marketplace

Amaten, the largest gift card exchange platform in Japan with $110 MM annual revenue has officially announced its plans to expand the current operation using blockchain. Amaten has joined hands with aelf in a strategic partnership and will be building its blockchain framework on top of aelf. Amaten’s advance into blockchain will allow Amaten to scale its operations not only within Japan, but also overseas, with initial plans to expand to Korean and Chinese markets.

With the adoption of blockchain, Amaten is looking to upgrade the way gift cards are issued, purchased and exchanged. The current forms of gift cards – physical cards or digital codes via email – are troublesome to both issue and redeem. While the physical cards are hard to manufacture, distribute and track, the digital codes lack verification and security against malicious attacks. By onboarding blockchain technology and converting the traditional forms of gift cards into digital assets managed and exchanged on blockchain, Amaten is introducing transparency and traceability to the original issuer and any exchanges that occur between the end-users.

“The current system and technology used for gift card is completely obsolete and dates all the way back to the mid 90s. It has never evolved to match today’s digital world. It still suffers from basic fundamental shortcomings and is very inconvenient. I believe that the gift card industry can be a perfect use case for blockchain. The two are a completely natural fit. We have chosen to partner with the best blockchain technology providers in the space, aelf, because they offer the scalability, dedicated sidechains and smart contract modules that we very much need to build our service rapidly and most cost effectively. We are wholeheartedly excited for the future of truly digitized gift card industry.”
– Tom Kanazawa, the chairman of Amaten

Gift cards are a fast-growing industry with $340 Billion market size globally (close to that of the cosmetics industry), of which $21 Billion is from Japan. In Japan alone, $1.2 Billion worth of gift cards went unused in 2018, values that could have been otherwise traded for alternative gift cards or cash. Since inception in 2012, Amaten has grown to become the leading marketplace for gift cards, reaching the total transaction revenue of $110M in 2018. Making up for 40% of the secondary gift card exchange volume in Japan, Amaten currently offers peer-to-peer exchanges of 26 types of gift cards including from Google, iTunes, Amazon, Rakuten, Netflix, Playstation & Nintendo to its 240,000 users.

“aelf is razor focused on providing creative and revolutionary solutions that can only be achieved through blockchain. Through the partnership with Amaten, we are hoping to pioneer the adoption of blockchain solutions within the traditional industries.”
– aelf’s Co-Founder and COO, Zhuling Chen

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