SoftBank’s tech division set to launch NFT marketplace

Z Holdings, the internet arm of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, reportedly plans to launch an NFT marketplace this year as part of efforts to meet its mid-term revenue targets.

Z Holdings’ NFT mall could come as early as this spring with the marketplace poised to attract users from 180 countries. As part of the plan, Z Holdings aims to expand the user base of its PayPay fintech unit to 90 million, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing an interview with co-CEO Kentaro Kawabe.

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The company cannot afford to miss out on the opportunities provided by the emerging web3 space that includes markets like crypto, decentralized finance, NFTs and the metaverse, Kawabe said in the interview.

Z Holdings itself emerged from a merger between Yahoo Japan and popular Asian messaging service Line Corp. At the time, SoftBank indicated that Z Holdings will drive its technology mandate to compete with other major players in the arena of emerging technologies.

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With its NFT mall plans, Z Holdings may have to compete with others in the Japanese market including Rakuten and Animoca Brands. Rakuten launched an anime and music-focused NFT platform in February and Animoca Brands reportedly has plans to float an NFT marketplace in Japan in the second quarter.

Z Holdings’ NFT push is yet another example of SoftBank solidifying its investment presence in the web3 space. In November, SoftBank led a $93 million funding round for blockchain gaming platform The Sandbox while also investing $150 million in South Korean metaverse platform Zepeto.


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