Is Kyash Legit? All About the Japanese Block-Backed Fintech Company

Rachel Curry - Author
By

Mar. 18 2022, Published 11:28 a.m. ET

Japanese fintech platform Kyash just completed a hearty Series D funding round, complete with backers like Jack Dorsey’s Block. The platform is solidifying its legitimacy in the fintech market through big-name investors and users are taking notice.

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Is Kyash a legit digital wallet for its users? Here’s what we know about the platform's investors, features, and more.

Jack Dorsey’s Block backed Kyash in $41.2 million funding round.

Block (formerly Square), helmed by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, has backed Tokyo-based digital wallet Kyash in a recent Series D funding round. The non-crypto move shows Block’s willingness to dabble in fintech at large, not just blockchain technology and decentralized finance.

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In the past seven years, Kyash has managed to secure a collective $108 million in funding thanks to its digital wallet mobile app and credit card.

The Series D investment round was made up of a mixture of international and Japanese investors. The leads include Japan Post Investment Corporation, Block, Altos Ventures, Goodwater Capital, and StepStone Group. Kyash’s pull in the U.S. is evidence of its stronghold in the Japanese market. Kyash is reportedly Block’s first investment in an Asian company.

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What is Kyash?

Kyash allows Japanese consumers to pay for products or services from companies within the country through a cashless app. The digital wallet is only part of the picture. Kyash also offers a credit card.

Kyash features include:

  • Transaction data management

  • Transaction alerts

  • Secured server and app

  • Multi-platform integration

  • Cashless invoice payments

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Kyash is similar to certain U.S. businesses.

With its neobank offerings, Kyash is similar to companies like Chime, Revolut, and SoFi—the latter of which recently achieved regulatory approval to become a national bank in the U.S.

Kyash is legit, but it’s reserved for Japanese users for now.

For Kyash, a presence in Japan is an interesting thing. Unlike other Asian countries like China and South Korea, Japan has held on to physical money with a historical motive. However, companies like Kyash are changing that.

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Now, Kyash reports serving 6 million users, with about one transaction occurring every second.

With the latest funding round, Kyash says it wants to expand its services and financial products and hire more employees. This could potentially mean international expansion, although a tap into the Western market isn't likely. Kyash could expand in Asia, which would make Block’s bet even bigger.

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Kyash has one thing down pat. The company is highly efficient with its capital. Still, according to Kyash president and CEO Shinichi Takatori, “It has been difficult to create a sustainable business model based solely on the payment and settlement business.”

Takatori referred to Block as a global financial leader, which proves how substantial the investment in Kyash is. Meanwhile, the managing director of another investor, Japan Post Investment Corporation, discussed Kyash and that its “user-first, mobile-first philosophy and design is a key component of the global, irreversible trend toward unbundling traditional financial institutions and rebundling them with technology.”

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