Japanese blockchain development company, Chaintope Inc, plans to make Malaysia its regional hub in Southeast Asia to support green energy and the government’s digital transformation projects.
Chaintope chief marketing officer Junya Yoshizaki said Malaysia is an ideal location for the company’s global footprint with its high English proficiency, stable environment and cost competitiveness.
He is also Chaintope’s Malaysian subsidiary, Chaintope Malaysia Sdn Bhd’s chief operating officer. Chaintope Malaysia is a Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status company.
“I believe blockchain technology will change the world and people’s lives dramatically during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“We want to be part of this ecosystem and in Malaysia’s transformation journey as well as in the region.
“This is in line with the government’s huge ambition for a greener and more innovative economy,” he told Bernama.
Yoshizaki was one of the panellists on the online investment forum titled “Malaysia in its Present State”, organised by the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), in cooperation with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), on April 6.
He said Chaintope Malaysia is supporting projects in Japan and Malaysia, including digitalisation of administrative documents in Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture, and traceability in the Japan fishing industry to detect the source of marine resources and to prevent illegal fishing.
Chaintope, which established its subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, is one of the first companies to have started research and development in public blockchain and has been an early adopter of the technology among Japanese companies.
The technology company has secured a total of 300 million yen (100 yen = RM3.78) worth of funding from several venture capitalists, one of which is ANRI, a highly reputable seed/early venture capital organisation in Japan.
“Our team in Malaysia is also supporting projects in Japan with the change in our business model recently. Previously, we were working with individual retail and energy companies in Malaysia, but now we are focusing more on information technology companies that provide blockchain applications to various companies,” he said.
Yoshizaki added that Chaintope is bringing its in-house blockchain technology — Tapyrus — to Malaysia.
“We are currently using this technology to issue electronic certificates and record the use of renewable energy generated by waste power to supply electricity to public facilities in Saga, Japan,” he explained.
According to Yoshizaki, blockchain, which is also the technology that provides the background infrastructure for cryptocurrencies, is expected to see expansion into multiple fields in the coming years, including supply chain traceability.
“However, blockchain adoption has not made a huge impact yet due to issues of scalability, accountability and cost.
“Therefore, Chaintope’s Tapyrus was developed to address the complicated part of blockchain to meet the needs of various industries,” he said.
Yoshizaki envisaged that the future of blockchain projects would enhance the reliability of certificates for carbon trading and environmental, social, and corporate governance investments, which is in line with the aim of Japan’s government to be a carbon-free society in 2050.
“We will like to take the pivotal role in Malaysia for leading-edge blockchain technology and connecting with global investors through our participation in Jetro’s Techstars accelerator programme.
“The Techstars accelerator programme enables linkup with investors in the Silicon Valley and to be part of the global startup community ecosystem,” he said.
He emphasised government support is of paramount importance in financial and global exposure for startups to thrive, especially during this pandemic era.
“Blockchain in halal traceability certificates is also an area that Malaysia can expand globally and take a key role to lead other countries,” Yoshizaki said.
To attract further investment in blockchain technology and accelerate Malaysia’s digital transformation economy, he said the government should relax the criteria for companies to achieve MSC status.
“It is particularly difficult and time-consuming for new companies to apply for the MSC status.
“Part of the pull factor for companies to apply for the MSC status is the scope of income tax exemption for at least five years,” he said.
Another challenging aspect, not only in Japan but globally, is hiring good engineers in the blockchain field, said Yoshizaki.
Effectively, Chaintope has collaborated with universities in Malaysia, India, Thailand and Japan as well as research institutions and government bodies such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation, to support human capital development and blockchain application.