Digital Gift Card Leader in Japan Expands Overseas in the Middle East by Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times
Asia Fintech Middle East & Africa Paytech

Digital Gift Card Leader in Japan Expands Overseas in the Middle East

Amaten is Japan’s largest digital gift card marketplace, where it had record sales that reached $100 million. As a result, the company announced plans to globalise its brand across the world. The company has reinvented the digital gift card solutions to create “win-win” situation for both consumers and shops, shooting to a resounding growth in recent years. The global hub of Dubai has been chosen as the first overseas operations of Amaten.

This gift card market generated profits worth $617 billion since 2019. By 2027 it is projected to reach $2.7 trillion as demand for going cashless is accelerating during the CoVID-19 era. It is a market that’s is rarely talked about yet, its current technology is completely obsolete into today’s digital world. Retailers increasingly refer to adoption of digital gift cards, yet they struggle with technical errors that make their cards easily compromised to be used multiple times, causing financial losses, in addition to more common issues, where gift cards have limited purchasing options and tight expiry dates.

This is where Amaten comes to the rescue, the massive success the fintech company has brought in Japan comes from the revolutionary makeovers that it created in digital gift card industry. The inspiration for Amaten’s innovation comes from one of Japan’s IT industry leaders, Tom Kanazawa, who played a major role to backing and funding IT ventures in Japan since 1998, he is currently the Chairman of Amaten.

Commenting on the opportunities that Amaten has for investors, Tom Kanazawa said “Amaten has the potential of becoming a monopolistic enterprise and change the gift card for good, because we are solving the last mile problem between cash and the legacy gift card,  Until recently, it was deemed impossible for the industry to reinvent itself, but as for Amaten, using our blockchain solution built on Aelf, we tackled those structural issues errors and will ensured a seamless experience for our users and merchants, finally building a true fintech digital product and expanding the industry and its market ‘size even further. This is a true use case for blockchain technology that can be applied right away!”

At first glance, Amaten is engineering their digital gift cards with blockchain integration. It is taking the gift card and putting on a smart contract making it truly digital thus, illuminating all the structural short coming of the current technology. This provides a great advantage for merchants and consumers from security standpoint, as they’ll be able to trace gift cards ensuring that it’s not compromised, as blockchain will ensure highest level of data encryption.

This advanced integration makes Amaten the most secure gift card issuer on the internet, thus tackling the “Gift Card Error” issue that is commonly seen among other suppliers. A long-awaited paradigm shift in this fintech industry.

Apart from accepting gift card purchases using cash, Amaten was among the first marketplaces worldwide to accept Bitcoin. Conversely, users can redeem unwanted gift cards to cash, hence tackling the issue of unused cards that counts $1 billion in losses globally every year.

The Amaten platform currently list the top 25 global merchants gift cards, the likes of Amazon, Apple, Rakuten and Google within the Japanese market. Soon, Amaten will allow any merchant to issue gift cards, thus encouraging buyers to purchase them for potential shopping in the foreseeable future, thus keeping businesses under financial support during slow economic activity.

Kanazawa further adds, “We also have seen quite some interest for white label solutions that can be provided to hotel chains for example or enterprise incentive programs to create a truly digital and seamless ecosystems.”


  • Executive Economic Development Advisor (Emerging Markets) | Contributor

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