Major Japanese companies have agreed to participate in an experiment to release a private digital currency on a single platform. The project will begin in 2021, reports Reuters.

The group includes more than 30 companies, including the three largest banks, brokers and telecommunications firms. According to the participants, the initiative is necessary for the development of digitalization in the country, where cash accounts for about 80% of the total volume of payments.

The group is headed by the ex-head of the Bank of Japan Hiromi Yamaoka. He pointed to a large number of digital platforms, none of which can compete with cash.

“We don’t want to create another silo-type platform. What we want to do is to create a framework that can make various platforms mutually compatible,” Yamaoka said.

According to him, private banks will be engaged in the issue of digital currency as part of the experiment. However, this task can be entrusted to other organizations, added Yaamaoka.

The initiative will not interfere with the Japanese regulator plans to issue its own digital currency, the group members say. The central bank and the country’s financial services agency will oversee its implementation.

Previously, some major Japanese companies have already experimented with digital currency. In 2016, Mizuho Financial Group, in partnership with IBM, completed asset testing for new mobile payment services.

In 2017, the financial industry giant Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ announced the start of pilot testing of its own digital currency MUFG for internal operations.