Today Japan’s largest mobile telecoms operator NTT DOCOMO announced a major web3 initiative partnering with Accenture. It also committed to investing 500 to 600 billion Yen ($3.4 bn to $4.1bn) in the web3 sector and will incorporate a subsidiary next year. It intends to use the Astar Network, a multichain smart contract platform that is one of the Polkadot blockchain’s parachains.
The financial investment will come over a period of five to six years.
It plans to engage a variety of industries by using decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), an alternative to a corporate entity that aims to democratize the management of blockchain protocols. Given that DAOs are evolving, there’s a risk of repeating the mistakes of enterprise blockchain consortia.
However, the NTT group has extensive experience in that department, which should help to avoid the pitfalls for consortia.
DOCOMO positions itself as a web enabler and identified four aspects where it plans to be active, starting with security, a blockchain wallet and crypto asset exchange and progressing into token issuance and other web3 activities.
The partnership announcement with Accenture did not mention the Astar Network and focused on using blockchain and web3 to address social issues: ESG, blockchain safety, and developing web3 talent.
Top of the list is to promote environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, including addressing United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We observe that blockchain has been extensively used for ESG, not least for tokenizing carbon credits, a somewhat controversial topic.
Public blockchain scams and smart contract bugs have meant that some view public blockchain as risky. DOCOMO aims to address this to enable users adopt new technologies safely.
“Web3 is the most impactful technological development since the Internet,” said Motoyuki Ii, president & CEO, NTT DOCOMO. “DOCOMO, in collaboration with Accenture, will revolutionize social infrastructure by utilizing blockchain and building a safe and secure Web3 environment. We will build an environment where the power of creators and developers can come together. We are glad to be promoting the Japan-developed Web3, and we welcome individuals and companies to join us in the global development of Web3 services.”
To date, DOCOMO has not been a major blockchain player, mainly participating in telcoms blockchain consortia such as the Carrier Blockchain Study Group.
However, NTT Data has been very active. That includes as a consultant in some major successful projects, such as Italy’s Spunta for interbank reconciliations. It is also the driver behind TradeWaltz, a major Japanese supply chain blockchain platform with some similarities to TradeLens and GSBN.