Japan may be edging toward regulating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, which has been in power since 1955, launched an NFT policy task force.
The party stated that the force would be officially named the “NFT Policy Review Project Team” (literal translation) in a Twitter post. It will be tasked with examining blockchain and NFT-related business operations to work in tandem with “the government’s growth strategy.” And the force will hold “discussions” with a view to creating concrete “policy proposals.”
Japan’s crypto sector is already tightly policed, with one of the most closely audited crypto exchange industries in the world. However, regulation surrounding NFTs is thus far virtually non-existent, as is the case in most other regions.
The task force held its first meeting on January 26, the party revealed. It will be chaired by Masaaki Taira, an MP who has served in parliament since 2005.
Taira, CoinPost reported, has “deep knowledge of advanced technology” and was appointed to the NFT-specific post by the former Minister for Digital Transformation Takuya Hirai.
Taira stated that he had “received a large amount of feedback” since revealing his new post and that the number of followers of his Twitter feed “had increased by 10,000” following the news.
Although neither the task force chairman nor the party itself has indicated which direction NFT policy may take, Taira hinted that his approach would be pro-growth and pro-business. A number of high-profile cultural icons and producers have already begun exploring the NFT space in Japan, as have some of the nation’s IT and financial firms.
The government of the country’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has already placed a greater focus than ever on digitalization and is set to embark on a “national growth strategy” later this year – with blockchain and NFTs possibly playing a key role.
Taira hinted, though, that NFT-specific policy might be hard to formulate – and that a wider look at blockchain and crypto-related regulations may be required. He was quoted as opining:
“NFTs are not a closed ecosystem. [Cryptoassets] are used to make [NFT] payments, so I think that it will not be possible to form an overall and consistent [policy] without looking at the entire blockchain space.”
He also explained that if Japan were to fall behind in the metaverse race, “high-quality” developers and engineers could be tempted to move abroad to work on international projects.
The chairman added:
“It would be a mistake to only look at NFTs. It is important to think about the ecosystem based on [cryptoassets] and blockchain. This is a very difficult task. It is not easy to put a horizontal axis on existing ‘vertical regulation’.”
– Japanese Tax Body Updates Crypto Guidelines for Staking and Lending, but Not NFTs
– Japanese Regulator Eyes Stablecoin, Wallet Provider Regulations in 2022
– SBI Subsidiary ‘to Launch Japan’s First Bitcoin, Altcoin Fund’ for Individual Investors
– Fujitsu Affiliate to Pilot Blockchain Pay Platform
– NFTs in 2022: From Word of the Year to Mainstream Adoption & New Use Cases
– ‘Broader Range’ of Institutions Seeking Crypto Exposure Beyond Just Bitcoin – Coinbase