Part I: Blockchain Basics and an Overview of Blockchain in Japan

 

I. Overview of Blockchain

As virtual currency has increasingly become popular since Bitcoin was introduced in 2008, the world began to be interested in blockchain technology, especially in the FinTech industry. A wealth of literature already exists regarding blockchain. However, not many English articles exist that outline the key aspects of Japanese legal regulations of virtual currency, ICOs, and considerations for doing business with Japanese virtual currency exchange services. While this series will examine these issues in detail, first, Series I will outline the basics of blockchain as an introduction for beginners.

A.What is Blockchain?

Given that various experts have offered various renditions of what blockchain is, there is no clear, official definition. However, generally, we will define it here as “a decentralized, incorruptible digital ledger comprised of fragmented transactions.” Blockchain does not use a centralized database. Instead, global participants that are involved in a transaction are fragmented all over the world without any central management. When this book refers to blockchain, the authors refer to this concept.

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B. What can you do with blockchain?

By using blockchain, it is possible to avoid the risks that arise from centralized data systems. For this reason, blockchain technology is already being used for international wire transfers, Internet of Things (“IoT”), digital transactions, government transactions and many other areas. Within Japan, according to the Ministry of Finance, blockchain has had an economic impact of 6.7 trillion yen.
How has blockchain been able to make such a significant impact within Japan? The answer lies in the seriousness of the risks that centralized data system posed in Japan. This section will first introduce these issues and then explain how blockchain has been able to resolve them.

 

1.Issues related to the centralized data systems

Centralized data systems have 3 main problems.

 

i. Management costs

Currently, various government and private sector activities utilize databases that have a central data controller. In Japan, governments and companies utilize centralized database systems such as “My Number,” “Touki registration,” securities transactions, business databases, and personal internet databases.  
Managing these databases results in server fees, labor costs as well as utility fees which, when totaled together, accumulate to an astonishing aggregate figure. In the modern world, many companies must manage services provided over the internet on a global basis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. On one hand as the amount of data that is being handled by these databases has explosively increased, it is not rare for a single company to handle an enormous amount of data.
These costs to maintain the system, preserve the voluminous amount of data and conducting backups increase every year and end up costing all parties with more and more fees. Security management and maintenance further increase these costs.

 

ii. Corruptibility

 Fraudulent accounting, corrupt data of manufacturers, fraudulent claims of origin, corrupted financing logs, corrupted public documents and other issues related to data corruption have been hot topics around the world. We know it is possible that companies, organizations and countries that we normally rely on to have their data corrupted and their users’ information to be rewritten in disadvantageous ways unbeknownst to the user.
Also, even if the data controller itself does not suffer from data corruption, a third party may hack the system to corrupt data using the data controller’s rights.
These kinds of threats increase daily as we currently entrust a large amount of data to centralized data controllers.

 

iii. If the centralized data controller ceases to function, the whole system ceases to function

Have you ever encountered an error page when you accessed a website? This can occur if a centralized server becomes too crowded or if a third party attacks a server. If you are connected to the internet, this is not uncommon. You may have also encountered this problem when a server is undergoing maintenance. While centralized data controllers try and fragment the server to manage these issues, there are limits.
Furthermore, there are circumstances outside the control of the server. If an earthquake or natural disaster demolishes the building where the server is located, all related services will be affected.

 

2. How blockchain provides a solution

By using blockchain, a centralized data controller is no longer required and users from all over the world will independently become data controllers. This makes the following simple solutions possible.

i. By using blockchain technology that will fragment data controllers, the management costs will not be targeted to a certain person or entity and will be spread across. Even if the amount of data that needs to be controlled expands, by setting the appropriate incentives, the costs can be dispersed among the various users fragmented across the world.

ii. Because blockchain has a system where fragmented participants monitor each other for any wrongdoings, it would be illogical for there to be any data corruption. Because blockchain is programmed so that even the developer cannot corrupt the data, users can safely use blockchain networks without fear.

iii. Finally, if a part of the blockchain is corrupted or attacked, the rest of the system can continue to function without any problems. Bitcoin, the first blockchain system, has been attacked numerous times since its birth in 2009. Regardless, the system has not shut down once and continues to work fine today.

Blockchain can overcome these challenges that centralized data controllers faced. By changing the fundamental system of databases, it is not shocking that blockchain has infused 6.7 trillion yen into the Japanese economy.

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3. How Blockchain Works

We now know that, by fragmenting data control, blockchain has been able to lower costs, establish an incorruptible database structure, and improve the security of data.
Next, we will take a look at how this technically works. We will take a look at how data control can be fragmented by learning about the basic structure of blockchain.

 

i. Who fragments the data

Blockchain is managed by all the terminals that are connected to the internet around the world. The PCs and smartphones become “nodes” or connection points. The number of nodes around the world increase every day.
Nodes are the parties to blockchain transactions and also sometimes become the controllers of the data from a certain transaction.

 

ii. How fragmented control works

                    a. Control by “block” and “chain”

So how does a node control data? We will explain how Bitcoin’s blockchain system works to illustrate this. Blockchains log all activities conducted between nodes. If you look at all the transactions in a “block,” you can find how much you own by looking at the cash flow of all transactions.

So far, this just seems like a database that simply records transactions. The unique aspect of blockchain is that it periodically and regularly examines whether the transactions were recorded correctly (for Bitcoin, approximately every ten minutes). One “block” is an aggregate of transaction records of a certain time period. After a “block” is approved, it connects to the next “block” created for the next time period. Blocks are then time-stamped and numbered in chronological order and securely connected by a “chain.”  By collecting all transfer records, solidifying them in each block and securing them in a chain so they do not disperse, it is possible to decrease the likelihood of corruption and increase the security of the data.

Let us look at an example. Let us assume that there are 5 people (A, B, C, D, E) that have nodes. (Please note that, in reality, there are infinite nodes in the world.) As you can see in the diagram below, transactions are recorded. Blockchains for virtual currency such as Bitcoin have lines of unorganized numbers that are used for transactions. For assets such as land and diamonds, data transactions occur between the nodes and data regarding information of what was transferred from who to who is recorded. A block also contains data regarding the previous block in simple letters, which are called “hash rates.” Even if the previous block is corrupted, this system prevents subsequent blocks from being corrupted.

For Bitcoin, 1 block is created approximately every 10 minutes. It is worth mentioning that there is also a measure called the “nonce value,” which allows for mining activities to be conducted (will be explained in greater detail in a later series).

 

                    b. Confirmation mechanisms and resolutions

In the case of a centralized data controller, after A completes a transaction of giving all of its 5 BTC to another party, the data is synchronized to all nodes immediately and it is known that A has 0BTC and will be unable to transfer anything else.

However, in a fragmented blockchain, the data is transferred to each node like a relay race so the time at which the data is received for each node is different. Let us assume A intends to commit fraud and transfers data indicating that it transferred 5BTC to B while, at the same time, that it also transferred 5BTC to C.  If this is done, then A is able to do a double transaction (10BTC) when it only originally had 5BTC. Both transfers are recorded and it may become unclear which transaction was the correct one.
This problem is called the double-spending issue. If there is no process that determines one specific transaction, A can continue to increase transactions and allow for data to be corrupted. In order to prevent double-spending, it becomes necessary to create confirmation mechanisms that prevent corruptibility.
It is worth noting that creating a rule that requires confirmation from a majority of nodes creates poor results as one person’s terminal can increase nodes significantly or a coalition of nodes may come together to unjustly create a majority.
As a result, the majority can corrupt the data in a favorable way to its interests. This problem of how to determine a confirmation mechanism to avoid betrayal from the majority has been long-known as the Byzantine General problem.

Satoshi Nakamoto provided a solution to this problem in his paper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” which became the impetus for blockchain and virtual currency. Satoshi Nakamoto stated that this problem can be solved with mining. Mining is the activity of those within nodes called miners who try and record a payment in the blockchain as fast as possible. The winner in return receives a certain amount of Bitcoin as payment. However, more importantly, this ends up being a confirmation mechanism that eliminates fraudulent transactions.

Other nodes end up verifying the validity of a block by checking that the data of the block is correctly recorded. This is called a “Proof of Work.” While a detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this chapter, we will explain how a Proof of Work prevents double-spending for nodes A through F.

① A has 1 BTC and transfers it to B.

② Transaction data that A transferred 1BTC to B is sent from A to another node. This information is transmitted among all nodes.

③ Each node’s transaction records are added. (The timing which data is received by each node differs and the transaction data is not completely synchronized.)

④ Nodes that will participate in mining will pickup the data from a certain period of time to be recorded in the blockchain and create a new block. (At this time, it is important to not include double-spending.)

⑤ Among the miners from ④, the node that successfully recorded the transaction the fastest will connect the new block to the previous block.

⑥ Other miners will check whether the recording was correct and whether there was double-spending in the new block.

⑦ If there is no problem, then the miner that was the fastest and recorded the transaction will receive a reward.

If other miners discover that the record was incorrect or if there was double-spending, that block will be ignored and the chain will end there. When the next miner successfully records the transaction and no issues arise regarding that record, the chain will continue building from the second miner’s block. If there is a split in the chain, the longer chain is deemed to be the correct one and the shorter chain will essentially be voided as if it does not exist. In this case, the first miner does not get a reward and the second miner does. Miners spend a tremendous amount of money and electricity costs to create facilities so that they have the fastest technology to compete and win the rewards. If a miner loses the race because of fraud, he will not be able to recover the tremendous cost he has put in for his facilities. Similarly, miners have a strong incentive to enact proper transactions so that a chain it is developing is not cut short.

If miners collude to form a majority of the nodes, they may be able to form a chain through double-spending that extends far longer than the true chain. This is called a “51% attack.”
However, if such attacks were to occur, the trust in the system itself will diminish, which will cause the value of virtual currency that the miners that colluded hold to plummet. This serves as a strong incentive to transact fairly for those who are looking to gain income from virtual currency.

 

iii. Establishment of Fragmented Data Control that is Very Difficult to Corrupt

As explained above, fragmented data control occurs from the synchronization of information by nodes and miners (that make up a portion of the nodes) creating blocks, and other nodes confirming the validity of that block. It may be said that the miners control the process. However, the process is structured so that the miners will mine properly without any corruption. Accordingly, it becomes difficult for the any corruption to occur given the relatively complicated confirmation mechanism process that is created by participants.

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iv. Types of Blockchains

Thus far, we have been discussing blockchains for Bitcoin. However, there are many other types of blockchains that exist. Based on whether or not nodes can participate freely, there are three main types of blockchain: (1) public; (2) private; and (3) consortium.

        a. Public

Any person that connects to the internet can become a node. What has been explained thus far is in this part is of this category. This public type is strong against third party attacks because, given that nodes do not communicate with one another, the frequency of new participants increases fragmentation, which strengthens anti-corruptibility measures.
However, a confirmation mechanism must exist among an undetermined number of nodes, which takes some time to process. Accordingly, this type is not suited for a large volume of transactions. It is becoming a problem that Bitcoin takes approximately ten minutes to approve a block. Also, a monumental amount of electricity usage is required for mining.

 

       b. Private

Contrary to the public system, private ones only have one data controller, which must grant permission for nodes to join. There is a definite or known number of nodes so confirmation can occur quickly. This type is suited for a large volume of transactions. However, given that this is a centralized system, the nodes do not fragment, which nullifies one of the main advantages of blockchain.
The data controller also ends up bearing a lot of the costs given that it is the focal point of the activities. Financial institutions like banks and internal company projects use this type often. For example, the MUFG (a major Japanese bank) Coin is an example where all fragmented transactional data within the company is controlled in a mini-computer network.

 

        c. Consortium

This falls in the middle of public and private. Nodes can only participate if they obtain the approval of the controller. However, there are multiple controllers. Because it has the fragmentation of public types and the speed of private types, this type retains the advantages of blockchain and also addresses its faults. This type is often used for groups of companies and business management. For example, a company named Ripple that uses blockchain for international wire transfers use multiple transaction controllers called validators.

When using blockchain, it becomes necessary to determine which is the most appropriate blockchain type for your business. If it is critical for a blockchain to prevent data from being corrupted, a corruption-resistant, highly open public blockchain type is recommended. If fast transactions are required, a closed private blockchain type is appropriate. Of course, if you want both fragmentation and speed, you would want a balanced consortium type.

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II. Overview: Scope of Japanese Legal Regulation, Japanese Regulatory Authorities, and other Related Organizations

 

In order to lawfully conduct business, it is important to understand what kind of laws exist in the jurisdiction you are operating and, when the details of the law are unclear, identify which authorities or organizations have the power to clarify any applicable regulations. This section will provide an overview of these issues for Japan and blockchain business.

 

1.Applicable Laws and Regulatory Authorities

The most important law to know is the Payment Services Act. On April 1, 2017, the Amended Payment Services Act newly established the concepts of “virtual currency” and “virtual currency exchange services” and created a registration system for virtual currency exchange service providers. When intending to engage in a virtual currency transaction or even services related to such a transaction, it is critical to understand this law. The regulatory authority is the Financial Service Agency.

The next important law to know is the Act on Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds. In order to prevent money laundering, specified businesses that are involved with financial services must confirm the identity of their customers. On April 1, 2017, virtual currency exchange services were added within the scope of this law. The regulatory authority is once again the Financial Services Agency. The Supervision Departments’ General Affairs Office is in charge of this area.

              For businesses that conduct fintech transactions, deposits or investments, the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act, the Bank Act, and the Money Lending Business Act are also applicable.

              For BtoC businesses that have general consumers as customers, the Consumer Contract Law and the Specified Commercial Transaction Law also apply.

              When handling data with blockchain, The Act on the Protection of Personal Information applies to personal information, and the Unfair Competition and Prevention Act applies to handling trade secrets. Furthermore, trademark law applies to protect a company’s brands, and patent law and copyright law apply to protect proprietary blockchain technology.

              Finally, Civil Law and the Companies Act apply to the general commercial transaction.   

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2.Self Regulatory Organizations

From when virtual currencies were born in January 2009 until when Japan implemented the Amended Payment Services Act, there was no law that regulated virtual currencies. During this period, self-regulatory organizations developed industry rules.

 

i. Japan Blockchain Association (JBA)

The JBA became the Japan Authority of Digital Assets (JADA) on September 12, 2014 and then went back to becoming the JBA on April 15, 2016.  

The JBA is the self-regulatory organization of blockchain/virtual currency-related business that has the most history. The JBA grew with the support of Ms. Miyaguchi (the Executive Director of Ethereum) and Mr. Kato (the Representative Director of bitFlyer).

Internally, the organization is divided between the virtual currency department and the blockchain department. The virtual currency department has various seminars and meetings to debate regulations for the industry. The blockchain department holds seminars exclusively based on blockchain issues.

More than other organizations, the JBA works on blockchain technology and innovation and its members comprise of blockchain businesses.

On April 23, 2018, the JBA worked with JCBA to create the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association. The JBA now addresses blockchain technologies in all areas (not just limited to virtual currency transactions).

 

ii. Japan Virtual Currency Business Association (JCBA)

The JCBA was established in April 18, 2016 and incorporated on December 19, 2016. Money Partners, KK’s representative director, Mr. Okayama became the Chairman and various banks, security firms, financial product and transaction businesses from Japan actively shared information, research and opinions on technology, accounting, regulation and business practices.

Compared to other organizations, many members are involved with the financial and FX markets.

 

iii. Blockchain Collaborative Consortium (BCCC)

The BCCC was established on April 25, 2016 with the Infoteria representative director, Mr. Hirano, the Representative Reagent. The organization strives for Japan’s blockchain technology, research and investment to grow and also attempts to connect with overseas blockchain organizations. They created Blockchain University in August 2016 and a Blockchain Skills Certification Test on February 9, 2018. They also are advancing a new token project called Zen, a virtual currency that can be exchanged 1:1 with Japanese yen.

 

iv. Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA)

On April 23, 2018, the JBA and JCBA along with 16 companies that have registered with the Financial Services Agency formed the JVCEA. It has been approved as a self-regulatory authority by the Financial Services Agency and focuses on industry regulations for virtual currency.

Going forward, it will become a self-regulatory organization under the jurisdiction of the Financial Services Agency and will guide and audit self-regulations related to virtual currency businesses. This will become the most important self-regulatory authority.

 

3. Some Notable Japanese Business Models

i. International Wires

International wire transfers is an area where the introduction of blockchain technology has spurred immediate effects. By changing the fundamental system significantly, there is great potential for future change.

    a. Non-blockchain international wire system

First, in order to understand the blockchain reforms, it becomes necessary to compare the costs associated with the previous system.

Let us imagine that someone in Japan seeks to wire 1,000,000 yen to the US. The following fees will be incurred.

① Japanese bank’s wire transfer fees (Approximately 4,000 yen)

② Margin when converting Japanese yen to US dollar (the difference between the bank’s exchange rate and the actual exchange rate – Approximately 9,000 yen)

③ A correspondent bank that takes an intermediary fee to connect different banks (Approximately 2,000 yen)

④ US bank’s fees (Approximately 3,000 yen)

With these simple calculations, it is apparent that there can be at least 20,000 yen worth of fees for a wire transfer. Additionally, the transfer process must go through various hurdles and takes approximately 2 – 5 business days to complete. There is also a risk of human error along the way.

International wire transfers have been expedited by international organizations such as SWIFT. However, this does not solve the root of the problem.

      b. Japan and international wire transfers

Japanese companies have come to be connected with a blockchain financial services company named Ripple and have been testing new methods. For example, on May 14, 2018, the UFJ Financial Group and Mitsubishi Shoji announced that it will begin using Ripple’s xCurrent system in the next few years and has been working with financial agencies of the UK and Thailand. Currently, Mitsubishi Shoji’s subsidiary is wiring funds to Mitsubishi UFJ Bank’s subsidiary in Thailand, Ayutthaya Bank, as well as Singapore’s Standard Chartered Bank.

There are also domestic transfers being undertaken. On January 2016, SBI Ripple Asia held a consortium regarding exchange rate harmonization. Various financial institutions including Risona Bank, Suruga Bank, Sumishin SBI Net Bank participated, which shows that blockchain will also be introduced for inter-bank transfers.

 

4. Japanese Banks developing their own virtual currency

Along with international transfers, domestic mega banks have started to develop their own virtual currencies, such as the MUFG Coin and the J Coin.

i. MUFG Coin

The MUFG coin is a virtual currency that the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (“MUFG”) is considering issuing. By using the MUFG Coin, it is possible to conduct high-speed P2P communication at a low cost with participating stores. This seems similar to Bitcoin but, by MUFG independently managing its own private blockchain, there are not any issues with the confirmation mechanism and the transaction speed becomes quite fast. On May 2017, testing began among employees has begun and it is expected to become available for trial use in 2019.

The MUFG Coin provides greater utility for the issuing bank than the consumer. A bank uses a large computer that manages all transaction data within the bank and there are significant expenses related to investment into system maintenance. If this is replaced by a few small mini-computers using block chain technology, the cost of these services can be reduced significantly. Additionally, if MUFG Coins start replacing the use of cash, the maintenance costs of normal ATMs may also decrease. Furthermore, by being able to retrieve the use history data of MUFG Coin, valuable consumer data can be acquired for various purposes.

 

ii. J Coin

The J Coin is a digital token that the Mizuho Financial Group, Yucho Bank and 70 other financial institutions are considering to issue. The function is similar to the MUFG Coin. On March 2018, in order to commemorate the revival of the Fukushima prefecture, there were announcements that the currency would begin to be used in certain districts. The fees that participant stores in the district would have to pay would be lower than traditional credit card fees, which would benefit the growth of local economy. In order to be able to handle the inbound transaction demands that will come with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the actors are moving quickly to launch the coin.

The biggest difference between J Coin and the MUFG Coin is that the J Coin will be pegged as 1 coin to 1 yen and will fluidly move along with the yen’s value. In contrast, the MUFG Coin will simply be adjusted to the yen and will not completely move along with the yen’s value. Virtual currencies that move along with the value of national, legal tender would not be treated as “virtual currencies” but rather “currency denominated assets,” which have qualities more similar to electronic money that can be used for fund transfers. Subsequent sections will discuss more details about this.

 

iii. The way forward for banks’ virtual currencies

On one hand, beginning with Bitcoin, it is common for virtual currencies that are not pegged to legal tender to be viewed as an investment opportunity rather than a means for fund transfer due to varying currency fluctuations and volatility. On the other hand, there are currencies that are being developed such as the J Coin that are pegged to the yen and, if issued, will function more like electronic money and can be used in a variety of circumstances. It can be said that a variety of banks’ virtual currencies can be introduced in a similar manner as electronic money. However, if inter-bank transfers are to be standardized, it can also be said that the players will need to settle on one type of virtual currency. MUFG is considering whether there really is a benefit to sticking with the MUFG Coin instead of simply adopting the J Coin.

 

iv. ENECTION 2.0

Minna Electric Company has begun working with Aerial Lab Industries to develop the ENECTION 2.0, which is a platform that tokenizes electricity use with blockchain technology.  

Enection 2.0 issues electricity tokens based on the amount of power generated by electricity generators on a real-time basis. By recording these tokens with blockchains, the service enables the traceability of electricity. Going forward, individuals and companies will be able to set sales prices of electricity relatively freely. The idea of sharing of electricity is not far off.

Furthermore, some are also looking at tokenizing the future value of electricity sources based on the potential for a company to generate electricity and creating a market for electricity values.

 

5. Use in the Medical Industry

i. Patients’ Medical Charts

Regarding the medical industry, patients’ medical charts contain patient’s medical information so that different doctors can provide treatment smoothly and effectively. By using blockchain for these charts, it is possible to significantly improve management of medical data.

In the Japanese medical industry, only about 50% of medical charts are electronic and operations related to information sharing has not been evolving. While digital charts are starting to become more common, issues arise relating to security and confidentiality issues. As Japan has serious aging issues with regard to its population, each doctor’s workload is increasing and it is becoming difficult to maintain the performance standards of each doctor’s work.

 

ii. NAM Project

In order to handle these issues, the NAM project is attempting to use blockchain technology that wields a high degree of cyber security for medical facilities to be able to share test results among institutions and enact transactions. The NAM Project not only addresses medical charts but also seeks to use AI inquiry bots in order for other innovative projects.

The NAM Project uses a private blockchain called the NAM Chain. If a public blockchain is used, medical information would be available to everyone who participates in the chain. Given the importance of the confidentiality of medical information, information sharing will be limited by using a private blockchain.

 

6. Music Copyrights

Music is created with record companies, performers, artists, composers, lyricists and many others who all have various copyrights to music that is purchased and played online. The collection of royalties for these copyrights is governed by the Japan Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers.
While JASRAC maintains music copyrights, it does not have the ability to accurately pinpoint when a piece of music is used within Japan. The collection method of royalties does not accurately reflect the usage of the music. Accordingly, it is a problem that unnamed artists cannot collect royalties from their copyrights. Also, management costs are quite high for JASRAC, which inhibits copyright holders to receiving what they are owed.

 On April 2017, Spotify bought a startup called Mediachain Labs, a startup that utilizes blockchain technolog, in order to come up with management methods that will distribute royalties in a fair manner to copyright holders.
Mediachain Labs records music data onto blockchains and, upon the music being played on Spotify, royalties are distributed to copyright holders in a proper manner. Spotify has a huge library of over 40,000,000 songs. Unnamed artists have the opportunity to earn some royalties by uploading their music onto these blockchains. Also, the centralized data center of JASRAC will not become a bottleneck and management fees of copyrights will decrease.

 

7. Real Estate Registration

i. Kaga City’s blockchain structure

Japanese governments are also starting to utilize blockchain. Kaga City in the Ishikawa Prefecture works with companies such as Smart Value and Shibira to incorporate blockchain technology within the city. If blockchain use in municipalities like Kaga progresses smoothly, Japanese municipalities that are increasingly digitizing administrative services will begin to work closely with private companies to introduce blockchain technology.

 

ii. Government systems and blockchain

Government systems are the epitome of centralized management. By incorporating blockchain fragmentation, it is possible to defray public costs and provide various conveniences for the general public. As Japan’s population is decreasing and management costs of taxes increase, blockchain technology can significantly help restructure government systems to lower various management costs.

Also, the open nature and incorruptibility of blockchains will lead to a more transparent and effective government system. A tremendous amount of resources are used to ensure that confidential information is not corrupted to maintain the citizen’s trust of the government. By using blockchain, information security will increase and society trust to the government can also increase.  

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About ZeLo’s Blockchain Law Series

ZeLo’s Blockchain Law Series are translated excerpts from the following book: Masataka Ogasawara, Blockchain Business: A Feasibility Study of ICOs, Shoji Houmu (2018)The series is intended for foreign lawyers, companies and government officials who seek to gain an understanding of Blockchain Law in Japan in the English language. The series strives to provide a comprehensive outlook of Japanese legal regulations related to blockchain. With blockchain technology stemming from Satoshi Nakamoto, who has Japanese origin; a flurry of activity has emerged with virtual currency and blockchain technology in Japan. Just as all other jurisdictions in the world, the Japanese government, namely the Financial Services Agency, is still trying to figure out how to regulate this grey area of the law that combines securities law, financial law, data privacy law, and many other legal areas.

This series was last updated as of November 2018 and will continue to be updated as developments arise.