Japan’s Pioneering Path in Web3 and Digital Finance

GMO-Z.com Trust Company
GMO-Z.com Trust Company
5 min readMay 24, 2024

As Web3 and digital finance continue to gain momentum globally, the Japanese government has initiated several policies and reforms to foster innovation and create a conducive regulatory environment for the digital economy. This article delves into Japan’s current policies on Web3 and digital finance, its potential impacts on markets, and how it works compared with the US and the EU.

National Policy Framework and Web3 Initiatives

Japan’s approach to Web3 and digital finance is characterized by an aggressive policy framework that aims to streamline regulations and foster innovation. The establishment of the Web3 policy office and the Web3 White Paper illustrate Japan’s commitment to these technologies as integral to its economic strategy under the banner of “new capitalism.”

Recent policy shifts include significant tax reforms on cryptocurrency holdings, specifically exempting unrealized gains on cryptocurrencies held by corporations from taxation. The Japanese government has also proposed amendments to allow venture capital funds to hold cryptocurrency assets directly. In addition, the 2024 economic reform bill, currently deliberated in Japan’s national legislature, is expected to stimulate business creation and attract strategic domestic investments through tax incentives and financial support.

Building on the national framework, regional initiatives such as those by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government further exemplify Japan’s commitment to the digital finance sector. Tokyo is offering grants to support the issuance of digital securities, which facilitate the transition from traditional savings to investment opportunities. With the local government initiatives enhancing the practical application of blockchain technology, it is expected to influence the cryptocurrency markets and the broader Web3 ecosystem.

Web3’s Impact Across Key Sectors

The Japanese government’s proactive stance on Web3 has notably impacted the gaming and arts industries, with major gaming companies increasingly venturing into the Web3 domain. This aggressive policy framework, designed by Japanese policymakers to streamline regulations and promote innovation, underscores Japan’s commitment to Web3 and digital finance.

In the gaming industry, there has been a significant shift towards developing new business models around Web3 games. Major Japanese gaming firms are exploring the use of NFTs, the metaverse, and blockchain games to innovate within their offerings. For example, companies like Square Enix, Konami, and Bandai Namco Holdings are actively utilizing NFTs and the metaverse to catalyze the use of blockchain in gaming. DMM.com has established a new company to focus on blockchain game development, illustrating a robust move towards Web3 platforms centered around proprietary tokens.

Similarly, the adoption of Web3 technologies is causing a revolution in the art production sector. The sale of digital art via NFTs has become a vibrant market, offering artists a novel method to earn revenue directly. The government has supported this shift by instituting grants to aid the global expansion of art via NFTs and the metaverse, thereby nurturing new market creation and enhancing international competitiveness.

In addition to fostering innovation through supportive policies, Japan is seeing the emergence of new ventures aligned with its Web3 ambitions. For instance, Hakuhodo has established ‘Hakuhodo K3’ to promote decentralized data management that is central to the Web3 vision. GMO Internet Group has launched GMO AI & Web3 Corporation, aiming to energize the domestic Web3 market by leveraging its blockchain and internet finance expertise to support Web3 startups.

Global Comparison of Web3 Regulatory Trends

While sharing similarities with major markets like the U.S. and the EU, Japan’s approach to Web3 and digital finance also unveils unique strategies. While sharing common goals with major markets like the U.S. and the European Union in exploring regulatory frameworks amidst rapid technological advancements and seeking a balance between growth, consumer protection, and financial stability, Japan’s specific initiatives set it apart.

A recent report released by the Japanese government, primarily from the creators' perspective, highlights that compared to the United States, Japan’s progress in foundational Web3 technologies, such as protocol layers and infrastructure, has been relatively slow. Japan lacks homegrown key technology services, whereas, in the United States, these services and applications are more mature and widely adopted. In terms of legal regulation, although Japan still needs to catch up as a whole, specific regions in the United States, such as Wyoming, have implemented more advanced regulations to support the development of Web3 and cryptocurrencies. The level of social acceptance of Web3 in Japan also mirrors the global trend, requiring more practical applications and validation to promote widespread acceptance, akin to the gradual adoption patterns observed in other countries.

In contrast, the U.S. maintains a cautious regulatory approach, prioritizing clarity and risk management before allowing extensive development. The regulatory environment in the U.S. provides a model for what can be achieved and the complexities involved. The EU, meanwhile, has implemented comprehensive regulations like the Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act to create a harmonized environment across its member states. These regulations are designed to streamline the digital market, ensuring that the same robust consumer protections and operational standards apply across the entire EU.

Final Thoughts

As Japan continues to advance its strategic initiatives in Web3 and digital finance, the interplay of national policies and regional efforts underscores a comprehensive approach toward integrating these technologies into the broader economic framework. The ongoing developments in foundational technologies and regulatory adaptations suggest a period of significant transformation. With sustained investment and innovation, coupled with an expanding understanding and adoption of Web3 technologies, Japan’s journey towards a more interconnected and technologically advanced financial landscape looks set to evolve.

About GMO-Z.com Trust Company

GMO Trust connects traditional finance and blockchain technology for everyone. We issue GYEN, the world’s first regulated Japanese Yen stablecoin, and ZUSD, our trusted U.S. Dollar stablecoin. Visit our website to learn more.

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GMO-Z.com Trust Company
GMO-Z.com Trust Company

Connecting traditional finance and blockchain technology for everyone. We issue GYEN, the first regulated JPY stablecoin, and ZUSD, our trusted USD stablecoin.