Creation of virtual currency “Ryukyu Coin” in works

A pair of Tokyo-based companies have presented a plan to create a virtual currency for Okinawa that the plan calls “Ryukyu Coin.” The two companies propose using the latest technology “block chain” for the project that is used for bitcoin virtual currency by companies and financial institutions in Okinawa.

Bitbank Inc., a company in Tokyo that provides online bitcoin services and Media Flag, a company that buys and sells virtual currencies, proposed the plan to major Okinawan companies in financial, merchandising, telecommunications and transportation businesses.

Goichi Itokazu, the CEO of Ryubo Holdings, says, “I can see a great potential in this proposal. If it really starts, all the industries will have no choice but to join in. It could have a big impact.”

According to the proposal, the major companies in Okinawa would invest in the virtual currency, and an exchange for the virtual currency would be opened in the economy revitalization special zone in Nago City.

A mechanism to exchange the virtual currency to yen or dollars, or settle an account when shopping in a store would be created to accommodate the Ryukyu Coin.

As an example, the proposal explains that if there is a popular item that can be bought only with “Ryukyu Coin”, many would use it and the virtual currency would become more valuable. That in turn could lead to expanded consumption.

The planners expect to target mainly foreign tourists, and also “worldwide Uchinanchu”, Okinawan people and their descendants living overseas, and Karate practitioners who visit the island regularly.

A representative of Bitbank says, “A virtual currency of Okinawa would be interesting, both geographically and historically. I suppose there is much possibility for success looking at the conditions in Okinawa.”