At Japan Blockchain Conference, which gathered some of the world’s leading experts in the blockchain industry, the Chief Executive Officer of financial services company SBI Holdings Yoshitaka Kitao said he is certain that blockchain related technologies will fuel the next boom for the Japanese economy after decades of its struggling to bring back its 1980’s growth.
During its last economic boom, which happened in the 1970-80s, Japan reached the world’s second-largest GDP. The United States was in the first place. However, things haven’t been going so well for Japan in the years that followed. In the early 1990s, Japan’s economy had started to fall behind, leading to the “lost decade” of growth.
But now it seems like something’s changing. The rapid development of new technologies has led to the whirlwind of ground-breaking changes in the financial markets. Better mobile connectivity with the new 5G technology, together with the Internet of Things (IoT), fast development in the fields of computing power and artificial intelligence, could all lead to a beginning of another economic boom, with Japan being the leader in the process.
SBI is well-known for its investments in companies in Japan and across East Asia through its “AI & Blockchain Fund” which they established at the beginning of 2018.
“We want to take blockchain beyond financial. There's a lot of speculative demand around cryptocurrencies, which is why the price is going up so quickly, but people need to think about how these technologies are being used in real life and how they can improve people's businesses.”- Yoshitaka Kitao
In Yoshitaka’s opinion, economic boom might happen in the next few years, and this is why he’s moving his company’s focus toward blockchain and virtual currencies.
Earlier in June 2018, SBI revealed its in-house cryptocurrency exchange, called VCTRADE is now live, but only open for users who have pre-registered with the platform in October 2017. The company expects VCTRADE to become available for a wider public in July 2018.
SBI has also invested in a renewable energy wind farm to begin mining Bitcoin Cash, which Yoshitaka believes is more profitable and safer than original Bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is too expensive and people are just holding it and hoping it increases in value,” Yoshitaka explains.
Yoshitaka is not alone in his views on Japan and blockchain industry. Aaron McDonald, the CEO of New Zealand-based decentralized app marketplace Centrality (which closed an $80 million ICO in early 2018), also believes Japan and East Asia could be the core driver of global Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain adoption.
“We’re focused on the region because people in Japan are far further ahead than the rest of the world when it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrencies,” said McDonald, who echoes the views that the blockchain boom will happen in the next few years.
The first Japan Blockchain Conference, which took place on 26 and June 27, 2018, at the Tokyo International Forum, in the organization of the General Incorporated Association Global Blockchain Council, is one of the largest blockchain conferences in Japan.
It aims to expand blockchain awareness by accommodating blockchain business corporations and organizations. The conference also enables strengthening of links between local Japanese and international companies and blockchain enthusiasts, to facilitate cooperation and transfer of knowledge.