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City of Tokyo Announces Blockchain Startup Accelerator

The government of Tokyo is organizing a new blockchain-focused startup, which is set to officially start in January.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government is working with Japanese think tank Nomura Research Institute (NRI) on the “Blockchain Business Camp Tokyo,” the third iteration of a series of accelerator programs that have focused on emerging technologies. The accelerator program is seeking companies based outside of Japan that are focused on applications in areas like supply chain, Internet of Things and capital markets infrastructure, among others.

The application period for the accelerator will last until Nov. 24, officials announced late last week. Five companies are expected to join, and those selected will be notified sometime in December ahead of the program’s commencement the following month. The accelerator will last until March, according to statements.

Officials suggested that it would work to advance the work being done by the chosen startups, including a plan to help them advertise their products and services in public spaces.

“Furthermore, the technologies and services of the foreign companies participating in the program (about five companies) will be advertised for an extended period using digital signage located around Shinjuku and Tokyo stations in the heart of Tokyo, and support will be extended to foreign companies that decide to establish their business in Tokyo,” the government said in a statement.

The development represents one of the more notable public-sector developments in Japan to date. This spring, lawmakers finalized and passed a law recognizing bitcoin as a kind of payment method, setting the stage for a number of companies in the country to trial accepting it in stores.

And last month, regulators issued licenses to 11 bitcoin exchanges – a move that reflected the proactive stance the government in Japan has taken toward the tech to date.

Image via Shutterstock

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