‘Japanese Amazon’ Prepares for Big Crypto Push
Japanese e-commerce platform Rakuten is gearing up for a flurry of cryptocurrency-related activities – expanding on the scope of a forthcoming token launch and lobbying Tokyo for legislative reform.
Per Japanese media outlet Fintide, the Japan Association of New Economy – whose chairman is Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani – has submitted a list of policy suggestions to the country’s finance ministry. The proposals include requests for changes to existing blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related legislation.
The association calls for the government to ensure that its cryptocurrency regulations “do not impede innovation,” and asks Tokyo to deregulate equity-funded crowdfunding, establish rules for security token offerings (STOs), refrain from “over-regulating” no- or low-risk projects and impose a risk-based approach to all initial coin offerings (ICOs) and STOs.
The association also asked the government to help boost the blockchain industry by considering blockchain adaptation in all of its administrative sectors, setting up a joint public-private sector council and launch an inter-ministerial support network aimed at boosting business.
Rakuten is one of Japan’s biggest companies, and has been dubbed “Japan’s Amazon.” In addition to its e-commerce business interests, it also operates a mobile network and financial services. The company is currently setting up an exchange platform in its home country after receiving operating permission from the regulatory Financial Services Agency in March this year.
The company also owns chat app Viber, and plans to launch a Rakuten Coin. Earlier this week, Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua told the Ukrainian edition of media outlet Novaya Vremya that the Rakuten Coin was a “global” project, although regulation could throw up obstacles to its progress.
“Cryptocurrency is a serious topic. Rakuten has announced its plans for a cryptocurrency in Japan, but we plan to implement it on a global scale. There are some legal issues to deal with because regulation is very different in each country. For the moment, the token is only going to be released in Japan, but we are open to the idea of launching [the cryptocurrency] in other countries like Ukraine.”
Viber enjoys enormous popularity in the CIS region and both Viber and Rakuten have long been eyeing Russia and other former Soviet Union nations as a potential market for the Rakuten Coin.