Will this investment program fly?

If Bitcoin is the rage these days as it promises big returns even on small investments and much-bigger returns on big ones, we can understand the huge interest in this latest money-making scheme.

We received this article our inbox late last week. It didn’t clearly indicate whether it was written by Izumi Tadashi, touted as Japan’s “cryptocurrency evangelist,” but we think it might prove interesting to prospective Bitcoin investors.

AN investment program being launched next year for Japanese investors via an initial coin offering or ICO promises a windfall for the Philippines in real-estate, tourism, renewable energy and organic-farming development.

The NOAH Ark Coin (NOAHCOIN) will be introduced in Japan by midyear as an ICO, and will be used both as a funding source and eventual digital currency for a number of projects being developed in the Philippines: A mixed-use resort development in Mindanao that will include, among other features, an assisted-living facility; residential real- estate in Metro Manila; an organic agriculture program for farmers in Mindanao; and renewable-energy projects in various locations around the country.

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Although the primary focus of the ICO is as an investment opportunity for exclusively Japanese investors, the NOAH Coin infrastructure will provide, as a coincidental benefit, a secure, fast and virtually cost-free remittance facility for Japan-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), through Noah’s partnerships with the well-known Nippon Pay in Japan and Philippine-based blockchain technology provider SCI, in conjunction with tech developers Ark Systems Technology.

Private investment from Japan has declined sharply since the beginning of the Duterte administration, mirroring the drop in commercial investment, but for different reasons. Whereas at least some of the cooling in business investment is attributed to policy uncertainty, the drop in private investment is due mainly to frustration with the financial environment for ordinary Japanese citizens. Lacking safe and profitable opportunities to invest, many Japanese simply hold cash at home, so that much of Japan’s investment potential is untapped.

Although naturally cautious, Japanese investors are eager to explore investment opportunities and tend to take a long-term view of potential returns. The Philippines is highly regarded as perhaps Asia’s last greenfield by most Japanese: It is perceived as a country having a strong economy but underdeveloped in comparison to other high-return markets like Hong Kong and Singapore, and thus promises solid returns over the long term. Thus, any well-designed investment opportunity in the Philippines is enthusiastically received in Japan.

Because similar investment programs have been met with high demand, Noah developed the NOAH Coin plan to tap this financial potential, benefiting the Philippines in an entirely risk-free way, as the ICO will only be offered to Japanese investors. This, is in part, because of the tremendous opportunity the Japanese market offers, but also because compared to the Philippines and even countries like the US, Japan is comparatively better developed in terms of regulatory and financial sector management of the fast-growing cryptocurrency environment.

Cryptocurrency in any form, despite its enormous potential, is an admittedly risky business, subject to a great deal of investor skepticism, unfortunately much of it deserved due to past cases of poorly designed or managed ICOs, and in a few instances, regrettable cases of outright fraud. To ensure NOAH COIN’s success with cautious Japanese investors and ever-tightening regulatory scrutiny of the industry, NOAH COIN’s creators have diligently sought to build security and credibility into their ICO before it is even introduced, beginning with the selection of one or more of the best-performing and most secure exchanges, which impose strict technical and financial requirements on prospective new coins.

Unlike many other ICOs, whose returns are dependent on the coins’ trade value as exchange market securities, NOAH COIN is classified as a token coin, one whose primary purpose is something more substantial than a simple trade instrument; for example, among the other benefits it will provide to investors, NOAH COIN can be used to claim special incentives, products and services within Noah’s developments here. Like other cryptocurrencies, NOAH COIN will eventually be available to traders from the Philippines and other countries in limited quantities through the cryptocurrency market, but the ICO will only be offered in Japan.

Apart from a demanding list of technical requirements new coins must satisfy before being accepted for listing on a reputable exchange, the exchange also requires that the ICO-issuing companies be government-licensed; NOAH COIN is backed on that account by Nippon Pay’s license from the Bank of Japan, and once it is approved, a license as a remittance facility here in the Philippines. This is mainly necessary to provide a properly regulated technical platform to allow the smooth transfer of invested funds from Japan to the Philippines, and is primarily intended for use between Japanese investors at home and Japanese businesses here; its availability as a remittance channel for OFWs in Japan is largely coincidental, but a happy added benefit to the main program.

Development of the necessary technical infrastructure for NOAH COIN, which includes the creation of secure digital wallets, the actual creation of the digital coins—which are the result of complex mathematical operations—and integration of the NOAH COIN distributed ledger, otherwise known as the blockchain, with the Ethereum cryptocurrency platform, is ongoing while the final necessary government licenses and regulatory clearances are being secured. If all goes according to plan, the ICO will be launched by midyear.

 

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Turning Points 2018