Nishiawakura, a village in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, has decided to launch an ICO (initial coin offering). This is being described as “Japan’s first decision to issue a regional ICO by a local government.”
This village is located in the southern part of Japan’s Honshu island. Okayama prefecture is largely known for its rural landscapes, feudal castles and art museums. 95 percent of the area is being covered by the forest. The population of the village is about 1,500. The village had refused to merge with Mimasaka City, during the period when all municipalities were consolidating for economic independence, in the early 2000s.
The village’s announcement states that: “In order to promote the creation of a sustainable region in the future, as a means for small local governments to secure new financing resources and to build up regions through upfront investment, tokens issuance, and the creation of virtual currencies, we will introduce fundraising through an ICO for the first time as a municipality in Japan.”
Nishiawakura Coin (NAC) is the name chosen for the village token, that will be issued by the Nishiawakura Village Token Economy Association. With the NAC coins, holders have voting rights that allow them to participate in decision making with respect to local ventures, as the village explained.
The announcement says that: “We plan to advance according to the revised fund settlement law…in line with the self-regulation rules on the management and finance by the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Industry Association.” Established in April, this industry association comprises 16 governments that approve crypto exchanges. Crypto was legalized as a means of payment in Japan last year by the revised fund settlement law. The village added that: “The funds procured will carry out business development, etc. in collaboration with Nishiawakura Village, and will develop a sustainable community.”
Japan does not have any specific law for ICOs at the moment. The regulators, however, have been discussing a specific regulatory framework for them.