Today, Tokyo-based Monex Inc launched the Japan Security Token Offering (STO) Association along with SBI Securities, kabu.com Securities, Daiwa Securities, Nomura Securities and Rakuten Securities. The Association will mainly work to develop self-regulation around STOs to shape the digital fund-raising model in the country.
The organization will be chaired by Yoshitaka Kitao, the chairman of SBI Securities, with representatives from the other bfirms in various management positions. Monex is a subsidiary of Japan’s Monex Group, which also owns the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.
Japan has been at the forefront of adopting cryptocurrencies and recognizes Bitcoin and other digital currencies as legal property under the Payment Services Act.
Earlier this year, Japan amended the Act on Settlement of Funds and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act to regulate security tokens. STOs now fall under the ambit of the two Acts as “interests in a collective investment scheme that are represented by tokens.”
Other regulatory requirements have also been tightened under these amendments. STOs must adhere to registration requirements, which include semi-annual reporting and maintaining records of the management’s holdings.
Some analysts believe these amendments add more workload for organizations aiming for an STO. In a developing regulatory environment, the Japan STO Association seeks to assist companies in exploring business opportunities.
The Association is also planning to obtain certification as an Authorized Financial Instruments Firms Association based on the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and to leverage its capabilities as a self-regulatory organization.
Other parts of the Nomura and SBI groups are very active in blockchain projects. For example, last week, Nomura Holdings invested in Securitize. It was one of the first group of governing members of Hedera Hashgraph. And together with Normura Research, it established BOOSTRY to build a blockchain platform for the exchange of securities, starting with bonds.
Nomura is also an investor in enterprise blockchain firm R3, alongside SBI which has many blockchain interests. SBI’s activities include investments in Ripple and the MoneyTap blockchain payments app. More recently it became a shareholder in insurance blockchain B3i alongside some of the world’s largest insurers and reinsurers.