Veteran Japanese VC Kazutaka Muraguchi says cryptocurrencies are the key to a "worldwide financial revolution", following his firm's ¥100m ($828,000) investment in Japan's latest crypto exchange.
Speaking to CoinDesk, the Nippon Technology Venture Partners (NTVP) general partner said he jumped at the opportunity to invest in Osaka-based platform Zaif as he had been interested in currency innovation for 15 years.
The exchange, run by Tech Bureau, lets users trade in Japanese yen, bitcoin and monacoin, a cat-themed cryptocurrency. It could become the hub that "connects Japan to the global cryptocurrency market," he said.
Founded in 1998, NTVP is known for its investments in mobile, gaming and tech, including the popular mobile gaming platform Mobage-town. The firm says it has more than¥14bn ($160m) currently under management.
In addition to the ¥100m ($828,000), Muraguchi said NTVP is considering further investment in Tech Bureau's exchange.
Bitcoin in Japan
However, there is still work to do.
"Due to the strength of Japan's existing banking system, the field of cryptocurrency still lags behind. However, with perseverance it is our intention to create a level playing field through this frontier field [of cryptocurrency]," continued Muraguchi.
Tech Bureau's CEO, Takao Asayama, agrees with Miraguchi in that Japan has been relatively slow to adopt cryptocurrencies.
"In Japan, no one talks about bitcoin 2.0, and people have little interest in owning bitcoin themselves. Unfortunately, the first newsworthy event related to bitcoin in Japan was the collapse of Mt Gox, which has fuelled a lot of negative coverage in the media."
The CEO continued: "By providing the most-user friendly cryptocurrency exchange on the market, we are creating an environment that encourages Japanese people to increasingly rely on cryptocurrencies in the future."
Tech Bureau also launched the Zaif bitcoin wallet, which it says gained 2,000 users in its first 48 hours, in July last year.