Japanese Village Leverages NFTs to Create Sustainable Support for Older Residents

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Remote Japanese Village Embraces NFTs to Support Aging Population

Nestled in the picturesque Niigata mountains of Japan lies Yamakoshi, a village facing a common challenge in rural areas – a rapidly aging population. However, Yamakoshi is taking a unique and innovative approach to address this issue: leveraging the power of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

The Neo-Yamakoshi Village project, spearheaded by local residents, utilizes NFTs named “Nishikigoi” – inspired by the vibrant koi carp. These digital assets serve a dual purpose. First, they act as identifiers for Yamakoshi’s “digital citizens” – a growing community of 1,700 individuals who have purchased the NFTs. Secondly, they function as governance tokens, allowing “digital citizens” to participate in voting processes managed by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO).

Launched in 2021, the project has raised over $423,000 through Nishikigoi NFT sales, according to a recent report by Yuri Group, a Japanese research and consulting firm. These funds are then directed towards community initiatives, such as organizing sports events for local schoolchildren.

While NFTs may not be the silver bullet solution to Japan’s historically low birth rates, the Neo-Yamakoshi Village project offers a glimpse of hope for isolated rural communities grappling with aging populations. Yuri Group estimates that if successful, this strategy could be replicated by other villages, potentially generating up to half a billion dollars in funding for rural Japan. Additionally, it could pave the way for the exploration of new social technologies with global appeal.

This project aligns with the vision of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration, which views Web3 technologies – encompassing blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse – as a key element in achieving “Society 5.0.” This ambitious plan aims to create a more sustainable and advanced society through integration of technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and big data.

Challenges and Considerations

While the Neo-Yamakoshi Village project holds promise, it’s not without its hurdles. One main challenge lies in explaining complex Web3 concepts to older adults, who may not be familiar with these technologies. The project’s manager reported difficulties demonstrating the DAO voting process, leading to low voter turnout amongst some residents. Language barriers further complicate matters for overseas “digital citizens.”

Furthermore, the global NFT market has experienced a recent downturn, with trading volume dropping significantly in the second quarter of 2024. However, Yuri Group remains optimistic about the potential for both practical and collectible NFTs in Japan.

“Japan’s rich culture of physical collectibles and its deep connection to anime and manga create fertile ground for NFT adoption,” explains Will Fee, a researcher at Yuri Group. He suggests that the playful applications of NFTs, as seen in the anime-inspired avatars used by some “digital citizens,” hold value alongside their social impact.

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This post was originally published on cryptonewsfarm.com

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