The village of Nishiawakura in Japan is to launch its own cryptocurrency through a coin offering launched by the local government, making it the first of its kind in the Asian country.

Nishiawakura is a village located in Aida District, Okayama Prefecture, which is located in the southern part of Japan’s Honshu island. The prefecture is largely known for its rural landscapes, feudal castles and art museums. As of October 2016, the village has an estimated population of 1,437.

The idea of the village launching an ICO has come about so that Japan can create its own self-maintaining social environments using blockchain, so that small centers like Nishiawakura can secure its own financing resources and upfront development.

The village coin, Nishiawakura Coin (NAC) will enable villagers to become involved in municipal decision making and even voting. A village statement read:

“We plan to advance according to the revised fund settlement law…in line with the self-regulation rules on the management and finance by the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Industry Association.”

This industry association was established in April and consists of 16 government-approved crypto exchanges. The revised fund settlement law went into effect in Japan last year, legalizing crypto as a means of payment.

The village began considering the idea at the end of 2017 when it announced it had found a blockchain provider for the enterprise and that it wouldn’t be Ethereum or WAVES.

The nearest to a blockchain town outside of Japan appears to be the Swiss town of Zug although, unlike Nishiawakura, it hasn’t gone as far as creating its own cryptocurrency. The entire Zug ecosystem promotes innovation and provides opportunities that other cities and countries lack. The town uses Bitcoin as payment for city fees and Bitcoin payments up to CHF 200 (Swiss francs), immediately converting all Bitcoin payments into Swiss fiat currency to minimize risk. Its latest project is to test voting on the blockchain.

 

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