Over the past few years, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have become quite popular. And there are hundreds of these crptocurrencies popping up these days, and it looks like Tokyo Otaku Mode is getting in on the act. Naomitsu Kodaka, CEO of Tokyo Otaku Mode Inc., has gotten into the investment trend. And now, he’s launching a new cryptocurrency he’s calling the Otaku Coin.

According to Kodaka, “cryptocurrencies can serve as cross-border digital cash for smaller communities”. This means that otaku can use the Otaku Coin within the group to build closer bonds and exchange assets. The start-up plan aims to target people who are into anime, manga, and video games.

Kodaka aims to launch his new cryptocurrency by summer of this year. However, he does not plan to make the new coins an investment tool with wildly fluctuating values. Instead however, he aims for stores selling anime-related merchandise to accept these coins in exchange for goods. You know, something like a different currency just for otaku.

“ When you think about how cryptocurrencies can spread, I think it won’t be on a countrywide scale. … it will be on more of a communitywide scale,” he said. This means that he plans to release it not just in Japan, but the global anime community. Cryptocurrencies aren’t like normal money, as owners can trade them across international borders.

“I think it is worthwhile to have an Otaku Coin that anime, manga and game fans can use. There can also be, for instance, a Sake Coin for sake lovers,” Kodaka said.

Tokyo Otaku Mode is planning to release 100 billion of these Otaku Coins, and they’ll release the first batch by summer. However, they will only release 5% of it, or just about 100 billion coins. Users will be able to get their first coins for free but how many they’ll receive is not yet known. Eventually, they will even release this new kind of cryptocurrency in virtual-currency exchanges, which will be the main channel for people to purchase the coins.

But then again, cryptocurrencies tend to have rise really high, or dip really low. And to combat this, they formed the Otaku Coin Preparation Committee, which designed the coin’s blueprint. They’re currently working on a system that would keep their volatility low. But details are not ready to be disclosed at this point, said Kodaka, a former banker at Merrill Lynch and chief financial officer at social media firm Gaiax Co. Experts in various fields, including accounting, digital money and cybersecurity, are advising the committee to come up with a valid system. The committee will also keep 39 percent of the total coins to cover operating costs.

The rise of blockchains is also one of the major reasons why Tokyo Otaku Mode is pursuing this venture. It’s an underlying technology for cryptocurrencies and an online ledger of virtual-coin transactions. “We believe that blockchain will be more commonly used in society. It’s like how the internet has come into our lives,” Kodaka said.

Blockchain works on a peer-to-peer network that links people’s computers directly without the use of a central server and records each transaction from the beginning. The data can be mutually and simultaneously monitored by individuals called “miners,” which makes falsification effectively impossible.

The technology is seen as an important innovation due to its traceability and immunity from data forgery, so many believe it can be applied to various record-keeping tasks in addition to currency transactions, such as voting.

Taking advantage of blockchain’s technological prowess, Kodaka also wants to launch a voting platform that will allow creators to pitch their project ideas on anime, manga and games.

There, Otaku Coins are expected to serve as voting rights, with the number of ballots being equivalent to how many coins a given user has.

And to prevent large coin holders from becoming too powerful, they would likely cap the number of coins to use. “I really like the concept of running a voting system via blockchain,” Kodaka said, noting that it would realize more secure voting. He also added It would also facilitate content production (in anime, manga and game industries) while making fans feel they are more involved with the process”.

“Tokyo Otaku Mode is proposing this whole concept, so I think it’ll help spread our name more widely. Some people may think that our company is ahead of the trend,” said Kodaka. The coin project may eventually lead more people to come to the company’s e-commerce site, he also added.

But what would drive people toward Otaku Coins? He says that they should make sure the currency can be used at real stores as a payment method. Otherwise, users won’t see tangible value in them, Kodaka noted.

“A key is to increase the number of stores that accept Otaku Coins,” he said.

source: Japan Times