Japanese Billionaire: ICOs 'Democratize Venture Financing'

Japanese billionaire Taizo Son believes ICOs will significantly impact how startups raise capital.

AccessTimeIconSep 20, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:57 a.m. UTC
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A Japanese billionaire and venture capitalist said this week that he believes initial coin offerings (ICOs) will become a significant source of funding for startups in the future.

Speaking with CNBC amidst the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology, Taizo Son remarked that that ICOs – through which cryptographic tokens are sold in an effort to bootstrap a blockchain network – could be "major methods" for startups to access capital.

He told the publication:

"[ICOs are] very good because they democratize venture financing for not only professionals like venture capitalists, but also individuals can participate in exciting projects from start-ups to support."

Son is perhaps best known as the founder and current chairman of GungHo, a major Japanese gaming company that has released games like Puzzle & Dragons and Ragnarok Online. He also founded Mistletoe, a venture capital firm focused on early-stage startups.

His comments are notable given recent reports that Japanese officials are said to be moving closer toward new regulations around the funding model.

According to Nikkei, Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) is currently weighing how to go about overseeing ICOs in the country. The FSA has played a leading role in developing rules for cryptocurrencies in Japan, and the developments come after Japan officially classified bitcoin as a kind of payment instrument.

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