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  • Andre Yunque

Japanese ICO Ban ‘a Definite Possibility’

Here’s an interesting take on Japan’s potential coin offering policy. According to Forbes, the Land of the Rising Sun may not be as ICO-friendly as most people think:

Contrary to popular opinion, many of Japan’s industries are risk-averse and conservative, and he thinks a crackdown on new crypto coins is still a “definite possibility.”

“Japan’s not really ICO-friendly. [Regulators] are just more tentative. They’re just trying to figure out if it’s going to be good or bad,” he said during a visit to Seoul last week. “It doesn’t mean they won’t start regulating more heavily in the future when problems start emerging.”

The he here is Koji Higashi, cofounder of the popular digital token wallet IndieSquare and one of the more vocal figures within Japan’s cryptocurrency scene. According to Higashi, Japan’s early adoption of cryptocurrencies can easily help the nation dominate the ICO scene once token sales are proven to be revolutionary. On the flip side however, he also feels that it won’t take much for regulators to crack down on them, especially given how easy it is to raise funds there. A couple big scam offerings – or maybe even few overrated ICOs – can easily tip the scales to prohibition. And the worst part:

“If I have to answer which scenario is more likely, I’ll have to say the latter.”

Increasing Higashi’s worries is the recent investor practice of buying tokens pre-ICO at a discount and dumping them during the offering.

“If those ICO projects start imploding and general investors start losing a lot of money, they’re going to complain to regulators about why they didn’t regulate,” he says.

That said, cryptocurrencies as a whole are still doing solid in Japan. Communications between regulators and the private sector remain fruitful, and the big banks have even launched a yen-pegged digital currency of their own. A few large retailers have even began accepting Bitcoin – something you won’t see happening in the U.S. or China soon.

Photo: Mark Gunn

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