Hatched Series: NFTs, Web3, and Japan’s Tech Renaissance with Minoru Yanai

NEST®
3 min readNov 27, 2023

In a recent enlightening session on the Hatched podcast, Minoru Yanai, a multifaceted individual renowned for his contributions to the blockchain space, shared his journey and insights with our hosts Glycel and Aman. As an advisor, investor, founder, and thought leader deeply embedded in the heart of non-fungible Tokyo and Japan Blockchain Week, Minoru holds a unique perspective on the evolution of Web3 and the digital asset landscape.

The Genesis of a Blockchain Prodigy

Minoru reminisces about his foray into the crypto world in 2017, a pivotal year marked by a significant bubble in the industry. His early ventures were rooted in marketing for mobile applications, which paved the way for his involvement in various projects requiring fundraising and marketing expertise. Minoru’s profound shift towards blockchain technology was catalyzed in 2018 with the emergence of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The digital entertainment industry, where he had spent over a decade, was ripe for the seismic impact that NFTs promised.

The true “aha” moment for Minoru was the realization of NFTs’ versatility beyond the art world. His background in the gaming and entertainment sectors allowed him to envision a myriad of applications for NFTs, from digital ticketing to loyalty programs. This epiphany propelled him to dive deeper into the product and service side of crypto.

Blockchain’s Influence on Gaming and Entertainment

According to Minoru, blockchain technology has redefined the concept of assets within the entertainment industry. He believes that NFTs, often misconstrued as mere collectible images, are in fact a groundbreaking technology that can seamlessly integrate with a multitude of products and services, unleashing limitless potential.

One of the most noteworthy developments Minoru discussed was the active role of Japanese government in promoting the crypto industry, bridging the gap between a niche group of crypto natives and mainstream consumers. He highlighted initiatives such as NTT Docomo’s commitment to invest in the Web3 space and the adoption of blockchain technology by platforms with massive user bases, signaling a move towards widespread adoption.

Japan’s Unique Approach to Innovation

Japan’s distinctive approach to innovation, as outlined by Minoru, involves startups collaborating with, rather than disrupting, established corporations. This ‘centralized decentralization’ is a testament to the country’s strategy of fostering technological growth through synergy rather than competition.

Minoru also touched upon the metaverse, positing that every industry stands to benefit from this new dimension. However, he was candid about the current limitations and the timeline required for the metaverse to fully realize its potential, emphasizing the need for significant technological advancements.

The Future of NFTokyo and Web3

Looking ahead, Minoru hopes that terms like ‘NFT’ and ‘crypto’ will become as ubiquitous and implicit as ‘internet’ is today. He envisions a future where these technologies are inherent to the development and consumption of products, indicating a natural integration into everyday life. He also predicts an eventual seamless blend between Web3 and AI, with a future where technology becomes an intrinsic part of our physical being.

Wrapping up the discussion, Minoru extended an invitation to the upcoming Japan Blockchain Week, set to be a melting pot of international ideas and innovations. His enthusiasm for the event and the favorable economic conditions in Japan encapsulated the spirit of opportunity that blockchain and Web3 present.

Minoru’s discourse not only provides a roadmap for the evolution of digital assets and blockchain technology but also serves as an invitation to engage with the future — a future that’s being written today.

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