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Could a Japanese ban on ICOs be an imminent possibility?

In the wake of China’s decision to ban digital coin launches, it appears as though the other Asian countries are starting to take sides. 

South Korea very quickly followed China’s lead by announcing they too plan to ban initial coin offerings (ICOs) despite huge opposition from a domestic business community internationally recognised as being at the vanguard of the tech world.  On the other hand, Taiwan appears to be supportive.

The positon in Japan, however, appears a little less certain.  

As a country Japan was one of the first in Asia to accept Bitcoin as legal tender and as recently as September, Japanese regulators sanctioned 11 cryptocurrency exchanges.   Such decisive strides made many think Japan – who now trade almost two-thirds of the world’s Bitcoin - was well on its way to becoming a safe trading environment for  cryptocurrency.

This view has just been challenged by Koji Higashi, co-founder of digital token wallet IndieSquare and an established spokesperson on cryptocurrency in Japan.  His view is that despite their recent actions in support of cryptocurrencies, the country’s overall stance is still somewhat uncertain and this uncertainty will only be fortified by Japanese industry’s traditional conservatism and aversion to risk.  

As a result, to Mr Higashi’s mind at least, a crackdown on any new coins or coin offerings could very well be a “definite possibility” and that once Japanese regulators have worked out whether they think ICOs are going to be good or bad for the country they could “start regulating more heavily in the future when problems start emerging.”

If regulation does intensify, it could spell problems for mobile token wallet’s like Mr Higashi’s as they could be seen as the facilitators of an illegal act.

However things pan out in terms of regulations Mr Higashi was quick to outline two potential conclusions:

1. ICOs turn out to be revolutionary and Japan will attract an increasing number of ICOs which will stimulate trade and tax for Japan

2. The market is flooded with fraudulent ICO schemes and Japan suffers from the same negative publicity that has already affected other areas that have enabled fraudulent ICOs to materialise

If you have lost money because of a fraudulent ICO or to any other type of digital fraud and want to know what you should do next, call us today on 020 7792 5649 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

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MLA 2017 18 Shortlisted 2