Local Governments and Incorporated Associations Begin Issuing Independent Tokens in Japan


In addition to companies, local governments and incorporated associations are now proceeding with special initiatives for issuing their own independent tokens within Japan.


KAYAC Inc. <3904>, which handles a social gaming business and client work business, announced on November 22 that it will carry out a pilot program for SDG-linked points from November 21 to December 18 in Kamakura City as part of initiatives in Kanagawa Prefecture to further encourage diffusion of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


KAYAC, alongside Kanagawa Prefecture, originally developed a community currency service called Machi no Coin using blockchain technology. The company states that the point system will be part of new development for blockchain applications using the Machi no Coin app to encourage participation in regional activities and making new friends in Kanagawa.


Machi no Coin app users can gain points by attending regional activities, and use those points when shopping at local participating stores and facilities (however, the points cannot be exchanged for Japanese yen). KAYAC has stated in a press release that the company “strives for full-scale introduction of SDG-linked points not only in Odawara City where they are planned to be implemented next spring, but also municipal governments in Kanagawa, where the company wants the points to be used in various regional activities and events related to the SDGs, such as children’s cafeterias, conservation of satochi and satoyama natural landscapes, renewable energy, and food waste.”


Other organizations, such as the incorporated association Japan Association for Chief Financial Officers (JACFO) and its sister organization Japan Association for Chief Human Resources Officers (JACHRO), also announced on November 21 their issuance of member-only CFO Coins and CHRO Coins, which are digital assets (cryptocurrency) that use blockchain technology.


JACFO is a non-profit organization established with the purpose of enhancing global management methods and ethics starting with Japanese companies. The organization provides services and training related to various management methods and technology to improve career opportunities and skills for business people who work in management, accounting, and finance fields. JACHRO is also a non-profit organization established with the purpose of providing support and training for chief human resources officers as the highest position for company human resources and enabling human resource departments to become more international and specialized.


JACFO has stated that it is introducing digital assets for the purpose of “offering chief financial officers at companies the chance to experience FinTech.” JACHRO has also stated that they plan to “introduce a system that connects to a free pedometer smartphone app in which users can naturally rack up coins by walking, from the position of supporting the promotion of health management as one of the topics that concern the chief officers of human resource departments.”


Both JACFO and JACHRO are also distributing the member-only CFO Coins and CHRO Coins via point programs for participating in the organizations’ activities, such as attending training sessions hosted by the organizations or answering survey questions.


Japan has been known as a paradise for consumer point systems even before the birth of cryptocurrency in the country, with many companies linking with online stores, brick-and-mortar shops, digital payment services and offering independent points in order to gather loyal customers. After cryptocurrency technology came into existence, each of these players has been issuing their own independent digital tokens with broader purposes. How these independent tokens will change Japan’s domestic economic activities is expected to be a topic of discussion going forward.


*This article was written by FISCO.