NEM and its token XEM have made significant gains over the past few months. Some analysts including Koji Higashi, the co-founder of IndieSquare based in Japan, have attributed the increase in the market cap of NEM and price of XEM to the exponentially growing alternative cryptocurrency (altcoin) market in Japan.
A major factor that has allowed NEM to transform into one of the most popular altcoins in Japan is its development team and company composed of Japanese founders and talents. NEM was initially developed and introduced in Japan by Makoto Takemiya, the co-founder and CEO of Soramitsu, the company that has also introduced the Iroha blockchain project to the Linux foundation’s Hyperledger Project.
Takemiya’s involvement in some of the largest and most prominent blockchain projects and consortia as well as the Japanese government’s legalization of bitcoin led to a surge in interest toward altcoins such as NEM that originated from Japan. Takemiya is no longer involved in the project.
Japanese roots are acting as validation points for local Japanese altcoin traders. Specifically, NEM and Ripple are the two most popular altcoins in Japan in terms of demand and trading volumes. Higashi explained that local investors are demonstrating an increasing level of interest toward the two altcoins because of NEM’s Japanese origin and Ripple’s association with Japanese banks.
In regard to NEM’s strong brand in the Japanese market and community, Higashi wrote:
“NEM is popular thanks to the strong backing of the platform from the Zaif exchange, one of the biggest exchanges in Japan along with bitFlyer and coincheck. NEM’s private blockchain solution developed by Zaif with NEM’s core developers is called MIJIN and it has established itself as a strong brand in the crypto space in Japan.”
While NEM gained its image over a long period of time through organic growth, on April 21, Ripple announced the formation of the Japan Bank Consortium and that its participating banks that include the most influential financial institutions in Japan will be using Ripple-powered payments platform to facilitate both domestic and international transactions. The announcement of Ripple and its partner banks led to surge in demand for its native token XRP.
The Ripple team stated:
“In order to address these emerging needs, banks have come together to launch the Japan Bank Consortium for cross-border and domestic payments which enable a flexible and efficient payment system. It is the world’s first case to implement Ripple solution in a cloud environment.”
However, Higashi strongly emphasized that the Japanese altcoin market is attracting “not-so-smart money” from investors that have little to no actual understanding of the purpose, vision, philosophy and technical specifications of cryptocurrencies including NEM, Ripple and others. He went as far as to say that the Japanese market is leading a bubble for the global altcoin market.
“Another thing to note about this new trend is that the general lack of understanding or appreciation of the technology by many of new users. This is no surprise and all of us have been there at one point but the new wave of Japanese investors seem to be exhibiting a whole new level of incomprehension and misguided decision making in my opinion,” said Higashi.
To NEM’s credit, it has maintained its strong brand image in Japan with its impressive achievements and long-term objectives.
On January 5, Umar Jundi Alfaroq, the community communications & marketing agent for NEM Association Malaysia, laid out the following achievements of the NEM team in 2016:
- The release of NanoWallet
- Transforming NEM into a globally recognized platform
- Emergence of NEM technology-based commercial projects
- Release of NEM Apostille
The release of NEM Apostille was a major announcement and achievement for NEM as it enabled the transfer and creation of digital certificates. That widened the applicability of NEM and its technologies across various industries.
As for this year, the price of NEM remains high and XEM is maintaining an upward momentum due to the tight partnership between Mijin and NEM. Many commercial projects based on Mijin, NEM and Apostille technologies are currently being developed and the Japanese market is anticipating such objectives in 2017.
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