SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

From Early Adopter to Rigorous Regulator: the Case of Cryptocurrency in Japan

Julia Valk
Dr Julie Valk (King's College London)

Date: 20 October 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 20 October 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Webinar


In recent years, cryptocurrency markets and usage have grown across the world. As cryptocurrency becomes increasingly relevant in the financial world and beyond, debate rages about the volatility and adoptability of crypto, and the potential of blockchain technology to revolutionise – or up-end – our existing technological infrastructure. Within this shifting landscape characterised by both enthusiasm and trepidation, Japan presents an interesting case study. Reflecting Japanese openness to new technologies, Japan was an early and enthusiastic adopter of Bitcoin, the earliest cryptocurrency to emerge. A thriving trading and investment market emerged, still very important to this day. But high-profile hacks and concerns over customer safety have prompted stricter regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges where cryptocurrencies are traded. Japanese regulations present a paradox – on the one hand they are upheld as models to emulate in a world struggling to regulate cryptocurrency, yet their strictness presents potential problem for growth beyond the existing status quo. Within the context of the ESRC project, this talk presents ongoing research on Japan’s attitude to cryptocurrency, and the Japanese shift from enthusiastic adopter to cautious regulator.

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From Early Adopter to Rigorous Regulator: the Case of Cryptocurrency in Japan

Speaker Biography

Julie is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at King's Business School, currently working on the ESRC project 'An Ethnographic Investigation of Cryptoasset Firms' where she investigates the growth of the virtual economy with cryptocurrency and blockchain. A social and economic anthropologist by training, she has an interest in specialised markets and financial systems. Based on her doctoral research, she has also produced a substantial body of work on the specialised market for the Japanese kimono. Her work has appeared in a book published by Routledge as well as articles published in HAU: the Journal of Ethnographic Theory (2020) and the Journal of Material Culture (2020).

Organiser: SOAS Japan Research Centre

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