Japan’s crypto regulatory scene is considered stringent, while also being relatively open to fintech innovation. To that end, the country’s SBI Group [Strategic Business Innovator Group] announced the launch of a crypto fund for investors.
Not “Matcha” Ado About Nothing
The press release by the SBI stated,
“This time, the SBI Group will start handling the ‘SBI Cryptocurrency Asset Fund (Tokumei Kumiai No. 1),’ which is the first in Japan…to invest directly in cryptocurrency assets, for general investors.”
According to a detailed notice issued by the company, the seven cryptos on offer are Bitcoin, XRP, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Chainlink, and Polkadot.
So how will it work? SBI stated that the maximum number of holders is 499 and noted,
“This product is an investment of 5 million yen or more in units of 1 million yen.”
One million yen was about $8,795.08 at press time.
The purchase application period is from 17 December, 2021 to 31 January, 2022. Meanwhile, the contract period is between 1 February, 2022 and 31 January, 2023. According to the extended announcement, the composition of the crypto fund can be rebalanced in case one asset becomes extremely dominant.
A translation of the same document noted,
“In addition, in order to sell cryptocurrency assets smoothly, we may temporarily lend the cryptocurrency assets to be sold to the cryptocurrency exchange company for a short period of time, but this is a technical measure and is not a profit target.”
That said, it’s interesting to note that in the press release, the SBI Group pointed to the launch of Bitcoin Futures ETFs in the USA and the popularity of NFTs as blockchain use cases.
Now just “Udon” a minute
A crypto fund is well and good. But on the other hand, Japan is facing pressure to amp up the development of its own CBDC. This comes as China’s digital yuan is seeing widespread adoption all over the country, with even international brands joining in, before the soft launch slated for the Winter Olympics in 2022.
In fact, Japan’s Minister for Economic Security, Takayuki Kobayashi, also admitted the need for more action regarding a CBDC. The minister cited national security as one reason for this. In early December, he noted,
“We must think about what could happen to Japan’s national security if other countries move ahead on CBDC.”
“Japan must speed things up so it’s ready to issue a digital yen any time.”