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June 19, 2018
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Authorities in Nishiawakura village of the Japanese Okayama Prefecture have announced the launch of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Officials have been looking into conducting an ICO to strengthen the local economy since November 2017.

“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.”- the announcement says.

The local economy association will release tokens called Nishiawakura Coin (NAC) which will be based on Ethereum blockchain.

Why it is important

  1. Through conducting an ICO, authorities hope to attract investments to the region using cryptocurrency, thereby ensuring "sustainable economic development".
  2. Holders of a local cryptocurrency will be able to vote for projects related to enterprises and various options for the development of the village.

The village population is around 1500 people, and 95% of the area is covered with forests. In the early 2000s, when all the municipalities of the country joined the city's districts, Nishiawakura managed to remain an economically independent village and since then authorities have been searching for funds for its development.

Japan has no specific laws on how to deal with ICOs, but discussions regarding new law are on-going. In February this year, the FSA (Financial Services Agency), Japan’s top financial regulator has issued a warning to all ICO’s conducting business in the country without a license.

FSA has subsequently announced plans to tighten regulations on local exchange cryptocurrencies in order to avoid large-scale cyber attacks.

By Nadya Astam

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