Blockchain and crypto leaders from around the world converged at the Kanda Myojin Shrine in Tokyo for the DAO Tokyo 2023 conference, which focused on decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and their potential to transform various sectors of society and the economy.
This event came as Japan has been making significant strides in adopting and integrating decentralized technologies within both government and businesses. Japan's regulatory and political environment for crypto and Web3 technologies has been evolving rapidly over the past several years. The Financial Services Agency of Japan announced in December 2022 that it planned to lift restrictions on foreign-issued stablecoins in Japanese exchanges, which could have significant implications for the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem in Japan and the wider region.
Furthermore, the Japanese government's announcement that it plans to invest in nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse highlights the increasing recognition of the potential of Web3 technologies to transform various sectors of society and the economy.
At DAO Tokyo, keynote speakers from various sectors of the DAO ecosystem, including ENS DAO, Shibuya, and the dYdX Foundation, discussed the importance of DAOs as a new paradigm for organizational governance and decision-making and their potential to transform the art world, promote decentralized creativity and empower local businesses and residents.
The panelists also discussed the potential of blockchain technology to enable new forms of trust and collaboration, particularly in industries such as finance and supply chain management. They highlighted the potential for DeFi to transform the financial industry and the challenges of regulatory compliance.
The DAO Tokyo conference also featured a range of other activities that highlighted the potential of decentralized tech, including a campaign to mint Kanda Myojin augmented reality NFTs designed to commemorate the conference. ENS DAO created and distributed "ENS Cards" with near-field communication (NFC) capability to about 120 preregistered event participants. These NFC-enabled "business cards" for the Web3 era served as NFT badges proving participants had met, a function enabled by tapping the card on one's smartphone.
Makoto Inoue, a core developer at Ethereum Name Service, noted that ENS was impressed by the vitality of the community at the previous DAO NYC event in New York and wanted to contribute to the success of the first full-fledged DAO event in Asia by sponsoring it. He also highlighted the potential of DAOs to manage projects such as DeFi and NFTs and said that he hoped more tools would emerge to make participation easier.
Jocelyn Chang, Asia-Pacific growth lead at MakerDAO, said that Asia has a unique opportunity to play a leading role in shaping the future of DAOs. Patrick Rawson, co-founder of Curve Labs, added that Asia would become increasingly involved in the Web3 space as Western jurisdictions like the United States face regulatory challenges and Asian developers become increasingly involved in the blockchain and crypto industries.
The DAO Tokyo conference was a reminder of the energy and creativity driving the Web3 industry forward and of Japan's position at the forefront of this new frontier. With a growing ecosystem of blockchain startups, investors, and enthusiasts, Japan is poised to become a major player in the Web3 world.
The Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) recently proposed measures to make Japan a leading Web3 advanced country by 2025. This proposal aims to address various issues, such as decentralized data ownership, governance transformation, and innovation in various industries. Keidanren listed three areas Japan could address to become a Web3 advanced country: appropriate tax measures for token ownership, revision of the law on investment business limited liability partnership agreements, and appropriate operation of the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association audit. The federation also proposed measures for NFTs, DAOs, and the metaverse.
Japan will host several more large-scale Web3-focused conferences this summer, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida already confirmed as a speaker at some. This demonstrates the Japanese government’s commitment to fostering innovation and growth in the Web3 sector and its recognition of the potential of decentralized technologies to transform various aspects of society and the economy.
In addition, Japan is well-positioned to become a major hub for decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), with a supportive regulatory environment and a tech-savvy population. The lifting of restrictions on foreign-issued stablecoins in Japanese exchanges could attract more DeFi projects to Japan, while the government’s investment in NFTs and the metaverse could create new opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs in the creative industries.
The success of DAO Tokyo and the growing interest in Web3 technologies among Japanese businesses, investors and policymakers suggest that Japan is poised to become a leading player in the global Web3 industry. As the world moves towards a more decentralized and interconnected future, Japan’s embrace of blockchain and crypto could help it carve out a unique and influential role in shaping this new frontier.