A local Japanese government is considering a municipal initial coin offering (ICO) in order to raise funds to revitalize the region. It has partnered with private enterprises to begin research into how to launch the mooted ICO.
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Japanese Government Planning an ICO
Nishiawakura, a village located in Okayama Prefecture, has announced that it will “begin a joint research for the introduction of a local government ICO.”
The village has a population of approximately 1,500 and forests that occupy about 95% of its total area. In 2009, its “100 Year Forest” project was initiated with the aim of creating a beautiful “high-quality countryside.” According to the announcement:
We have actively worked on unique measures to revitalize the region. In order to continue investing in such sectors and realize a sustainable community development, we have started research on the introduction of a municipal ICO in collaboration with private enterprises, and how it is possible to use a municipal ICO as a new financial source for the village.
The village hopes that the municipal ICO will “encourage unprecedented inflow and circulation of funds,” the announcement read.
Collaborating with Private Enterprises
The village has begun a joint research project with three companies to determine how it can launch a municipal ICO.
The first company named is a blockchain development company, Chaintope Co Ltd. “We utilize blockchain technology and develop various regional virtual currencies,” the company describes itself. It also performs research and has developed a platform to support ICOs.
Chaintope’s blockchain platform.
Chaintope’s platform allows for blockchains to be added as needed. Each is modeled after Bitcoin and is specialized for different purposes. The platform uses Amazon Web Services for data storage and can also use Bitcoin’s blockchain for public timestamping. However, these blockchains are run “on a closed network separate from the Internet,” according to the company’s website.
Murashiki Co Ltd. will also participate in the project to develop an e-commerce platform for the system. The third company taking part in the project is A-zero Co Ltd. “We conduct regional revitalization projects in collaboration with municipalities, consult local startups, [and provide] regional marketing and other services,” it states.
ICOs in Japan
The ICO market in Japan has been growing. Small companies and large corporations have announced that they will engage in ICOs including GMO, DMM, and SBI Holdings.
While there are no laws and regulations specifically for ICOs in Japan, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) stated that two existing laws may apply to token sales. “ICOs may fall within the scope of the Payment Services Act and/or the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act depending on how they are structured,” the agency detailed in a recent statement.
What do you think of this village’s plan for a municipal ICO? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Murashiki, and Chaintope, and Local Life Labo.
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