The ICO market in Japan is on fire. People are exchanging their Bitcoin to ICO Cryptocurrencies to distribute the risk and future return. In a recent survey in Japan, it was reported that 2.7% of the population (~3.4 Million people out of population of 127 Million) had purchased Bitcoin in the past and 2% are still holding it.
In December 2017 statement by GMO Internet Inc., a multi-billion dollar Japanese technology conglomerate, it was reported that they will start processing salaries of its 4,710 full-time employees in bitcoin. GMO’s integration of bitcoin into its payroll system is important because it sets a precedent across the nation and for other conglomerates in the country. Given that bitcoin is a legal currency in Japan, in the long-term, an increasing number of conglomerates will likely adopt bitcoin as a payment method.
Japan's Financial Authority clarifies its position on Initial Coin Offerings Tech Bureau, which operates the Japanese bitcoin exchange "Zaif", launched a platform called Comsa in August who raised $25M from VC and $60M from ICO. The company described Comsa as a “one-stop solution that includes a creation of multi-language whitepaper, pre-configured token sale dashboard, blockchain integration services and PR services, dedicated for your own ICO.”
Singaporean bitcoin exchange "Quoine", which has a good presence in Japan, announced in November 2017 the launch of a global ICO known as the "Qash". Both "Quoine" and Zaif" were among the 11 bitcoin exchanges approved by the FSA in September.
Moreover, Chinese bitcoin exchanges are reportedly trying to move their ICO businesses to Japan. According to the leading Japanese bitcoin exchange Coincheck, the company has received “hundreds of requests from Chinese startups and startups around the world asking us to list their tokens, after the Chinese government banned ICOs,” the exchange announced.
Japan made bitcoin a legal currency - now it's more popular than ever (via CNBC International)Best ICOs in Japanさんの投稿 2017年11月28日(火)
The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued an official statement regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs). The agency warns about the risk and explain how 2 existing laws may apply to token sales.
FSA Warns of ICO Risks
Japan's Financial Authority Clarifies its Stance on Initial Coin Offerings. Japan’s FSA published a statement in November 2017, clarifying its position on ICOs. The agency first warned the public of two risks applicable to ICO investors.
The first risk concerns price volatility, which the agency cautioned, “the price of a token may decline or become worthless suddenly.” The second risk is “potential for fraud.” The FSA warned that goods and services outlined in ICOs’ whitepapers may not be realized, adding that:
"You should have a deal [invest] at your own risk only after understanding enough the risks above and the content of an ICO project if you buy a token. You should also pay careful attention to suspicious solicitation of ICOs"
Two Existing Laws May Apply
Although Japan has no specific laws for ICOs, they may be regulated by two existing laws. For businesses launching an ICO, the FSA emphasized:
"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."
If a token issued in an ICO falls under the virtual currency provisions of the Payment Services Act, then businesses providing digital currency exchange services regularly “must be registered with each Local Finance Bureau that is the delegated authority to the Prime Minister,” the FSA wrote. So far, eleven cryptocurrency exchanges have been approved by the agency.
However, “if an ICO has the characteristics of an investment, and the purchase of a token by a virtual currency is practically deemed equivalent to that of legal tender, the ICO becomes subject to regulations under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act,” the agency described.
Japan is the world leader in Cryptocurrency trading and usage.
Be sure to include it in your global strategy.