It’s no secret that Asia has been a major driving force behind the blockchain revolution for quite some time now. With the global blockchain market expected to grow at a CAGR of 80% to reach $42 billion USD by 2024, the largest driver of that growth is being attributed to Asia-Pacific.
And as Coinbase expands its services in greater Asia while retail stores in Hong Kong are starting to accept cryptocurrencies during political protests, we’re seeing an embrace of blockchain and cryptocurrency from all angles.
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With the varying government views on cryptocurrencies between the West and the far East, Asia seems to be setting the pace with more common-sense regulations without stymieing innovation, while lawsuits and investigations are capturing many headlines in the United States.
Earlier this month, Busan, South Korea was declared a “regulation-free” zone for blockchain development by the South Korean government. In China, the national central bank is said to be close to launching their own digital currency, with increased urgency thanks to Facebook’s announcement of Libra. While Rakuten, which operates Japan’s largest online shopping marketplace and internet bank, just launched their own crypto exchange platform on August 19th.
From a technology development, investment, and regulatory perspective, Asia has taken the driver’s seat as the continent fostering blockchain’s growth for the foreseeable future.
Japan in Focus
While some Asian countries have had major challenges with structuring regulation and laws around our industry, others have taken a slow-and-steady approach with the hopes of a major payoff in the long run. Take Japan for instance, who became the first nation to regulate cryptocurrencies in 2017. Since then, Japan eased new regulation over time and is now on pace to set global benchmarks with the passing of cryptocurrency laws that will take effect in Spring of 2020. The government hopes to have greater regulation lead to more institutional investors participating in the market while deterring bad actors.
Being the world’s third largest economy by GDP, Japan has the opportunity to become a major leader in the blockchain industry as the overall market continues to mature. And with the backing of blockchain technology by Japan’s central bank, the Bank of Japan, we should continue to see Japanese-based blockchain projects that are blessed by regulators and backed by major traditional enterprises.
Crypto exchanges,protocols and mining companies have been leading the blockchain charge in Japan for the last couple of years, with notable companies including Liquid, LayerX, TomoChain and bitFlyer. Japan’s highly-skilled, high tech workforce has naturally gravitated to blockchain development, with developer meetups and work opportunities abound.
With Japan coming into focus more and more on the global blockchain scene, one of the most anticipated blockchain projects coming out of the country is Quras.
As a ‘privacy 2.0’ protocol, Quras is the world’s first public blockchain that allows anonymous transactions in smart contracts. Since transparent, public blockchains have led to restrictive functionality and limited use cases, Quras has implemented two proven privacy technologies to allow users to choose the suitable level of privacy for their data.
Quras is quite well known in Japan already. Having spent over 2.5 years developing the protocol, Tokyo-based Quras has raised over $15.5 million while building a community of developers and ‘ambassadors’ that total over 50,000 people. The company actively participates in the greater blockchain community by hosting their own developer meet-ups regularly while participating in major conferences, such as Japan Blockchain Week, World Blockchain Forum and BlockShow Asia.
The company was built on the philosophy of common good. While Aristotle may have made the concept of ‘common good’ famous, the Quras platform aims to achieve common good by embracing a pluralistic society model and different aspects thereof, and by providing all Quras users with opportunities to grow alongside the platform for the benefit of our greater society. “Empowering and incentivizing individuals that take part in our community while working together to create long-term sustainability is part of the Quras mantra,” says Shigeki Kakutani, CEO of Quras.
By combining the best that public and private blockchains have to offer into one, the Quras blockchain makes a strong case to be the preferred blockchain for major enterprises as well as startup dApps. By utilizing both zero-knowledge proofs and ring signatures for privacy, Quras gives its users options in the way transaction confidentiality is handled while supporting a safer privated digital ID. Adopting digital ID opens the door for compliance with regulations and greater use cases. Quras is heavily focused on protocol adoption by building and partnering with companies focused on building IoT, healthcare, finance, retail and supply chain applications.
To Infinity and Beyond
Given underlying uncertainties pinned against global stock markets, including a trade war between the U.S. and China, the promises of a more transparent, protected, and democratized future carry on in Asia. And as blockchain influence grows and traditional industries begin commercializing the technology, real adoption is sure to follow.
Japan is one of the most forward-thinking countries for cryptocurrency regulations while their government places a focus on moving the greater nation into a cashless society. Many self-regulated blockchain organizations are working actively with Japanese regulators in creating frameworks for different kinds of blockchain businesses and application.
Given the momentum and reputation that Quras has built, we should expect them to make more headlines before 2019 is over. With the company’s enduring mission ‘to enhance privacy, security, scalability, and usability to promote real-world blockchain use cases’, the Quras protocol is just getting started, as they say, to infinity and beyond.
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