Okayama Prefecture on Honshu, Japan. Photo: iStock
Okayama Prefecture on Honshu, Japan. Photo: iStock

A village municipality in rural Japan says it is going to launch its own crypto-currency, via a local government-led initial coin offering (ICO).

Currently, 95% of the economy of Nishiawakura village, in the south of Japan’s biggest island of Honshu, is based around forestry. The Nishiawakura Coin (NAC), that will be issued by newly formed body the Nishiawakura’s Token Economy Association, is an attempt to boost the income of the village’s 1,500 residents.

The municipality’s official announcement, released earlier this week, says the village had the idea for the NAC token after seeing ICOs around the world raise capital for both companies and organizations. It also says it was encouraged by the Japanese government’s progressive approach to crypto-currency regulation.

The announcement also says it predicts more local government-led ICOs in Japan and a move towards a more “decentralised” model of funding for rural Japanese communities.

Nishiawakura has not yet provided specific launch dates or details for its NAC token although last year, in a separate announcement, municipality officials said the village planned to partner with Chaintope, a Japanese “public blockchain” business that specializes in the development of regional crypto-currencies while also working with e-commerce platform provider, Murashiki.

Nishiawakura is not the first rural community to turn to ICOs to bolster its economy. As reported in Asia Times earlier this month, the Russian village community of Kolionovo, 125 kilometers outside Moscow, is planning to drop the ruble in favor of a digital token called the Kolion.

The token’s founder, Mikhail Shlyapnikov, who calls himself an ‘agro-anarchist,’ has persuaded 100 or so local farmers and suppliers to use Kolions and, according to a 2016 piece in the Moscow Times, one Kolion was then pegged to 10 kilograms of potatoes and two Kolions were pegged to the equivalent of 10 eggs. However, the Kolion launched its ICO process in April, 2017, and Shlyapnikov now claims it is worth about $2 million.

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