Crypto-Friendly Japan Mulling ICO Ban?

Japan’s support of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is unlikely to extend to initial coin offerings, according to prominent local entrepreneur Koji Higashi.

ICO Ban a “Definite Possibility”

Higashi says a Japanese ban on ICOs is a “definite possibility,” according to Forbes.

“Japan’s not really ICO-friendly,” Higashi tells Forbes, arguing that regulators are “just more tentative.”

“They’re just trying to figure out if it’s going to be good or bad.”

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) have taken the world by storm, with more than $2.3 billion raised this year alone. The controversial crowdfunding model is being investigated by several nations trying to determine whether new coin offerings fall under the domain of securities laws. A surge in fraudulent ICO cases is also placing more pressure on regulators to protect investors.

Japan is considered one of the most market-friendly nations for cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, the government accepted bitcoin as legal tender. Since the Payments Services Act legalized cryptocurrency, regulators have approved 11 exchanges (full list).

Japan’s decision on ICOs will have important consequences on the broader market. As CCN notes, “a ban could potential limit the number of investors” and digital curency exchanges, thereby diminishing liquidity in the booming ICO market.

Ether Prices Fall

Ethereum, which has emerged as the platform of choice for ICO entrepreneurs, declined over the weekend. Prices have since fallen another 3% to $287.

The world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization underwent a successful fork last week, but hasn’t yet stabilized, according to founder Vitalik Buterin.  The second leg of the Metropolis fork known as Constantinople is forthcoming, although no timetable for its implementation has been provided.

Like other cryptos, the ether token has skyrocketed this year. However, new highs have proven elusive as of late as the token continues to struggle with resistance levels north of the critical $300 level.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi