In a first for the Japanese government, the cabinet has given out non-fungible token (NFT) awards.
The tokens were handed to the victors of a statewide digitization competition and served as “digital certificates” of achievement.
The Cabinet Secretariat, a government institution led by the nation’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, presented the honors during an event attended by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The tokens were issued on the Ethereum blockchain network, but they used Proof of Attendance Protocol (POAP) technology to verify their ownership. POAP-type NFTs are typically utilized at special events and are minted on the xDai chain. This means that the NFTs issued by the Secretariat cannot be traded on secondary markets.
A number of Japanese businesses, including the main domestic crypto exchange bitFlyer, provided technological support for the offering.
Until now, the Liberal Democratic Party has minted and awarded NFTs, but the government has not.
A number of similar NFTs were also coined and awarded in May of this year at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s youth wing (LDP). This latest issuance, however, is a first in that the awarding party was the government itself, rather than an extension of the LDP.
Seven mayors were honored for their governments’ digital economy-themed projects.
Among them is the Mayor of Sakata, Yamagata Prefecture, whose government has recommended using electric vehicles for local deliveries. Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, also got an NFT prize for developing a platform that uses mobile phone cameras to identify changes in traffic conditions in real-time.
Kishida has specifically mentioned NFTs on several occasions this year. The Prime Minister is sure that NFTs and metaverse-related inventions will ignite Web3-powered growth in Japan, and has promised to assist entrepreneurs in their efforts to expand by revising restrictive tax regulations. This has prompted authorities to follow suit and urge modifications to the tax code.