Why I had to leave Japan to launch my gaming company

Shinnosuke Murata is founder of blockchain game development studio Murasaki.

TOKYO, Oct 04 (Nikkei) - Regulators and tax rules are fueling a new brain drain

After building three companies in Japan, last year, I set up a blockchain game development company with Shunsuke Sasaki, another serial entrepreneur -- in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Why would two Japanese entrepreneurs with considerable experience starting companies in their own country go halfway around the world to set up a new business?

Simply because it just was not feasible to do so in Japan.

Our company, Murasaki, is a GameFi business that brings together gaming and finance. In the GameFi ecosystem, players can own gaming assets created with fungible and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) through the use of blockchain technology.

My mission is to create a GameFi economy for the next generation of gaming and to make people's everyday life more valuable, as well as to disrupt the existing GameFi sector with a community-focused model.

Japan's Financial Services Agency indirectly controls the domestic trading of cryptocurrencies and digital tokens. It takes its bureaucratic mission to heart, spending up to half a year to review proposals to list new tokens. This, in turn, has caused Japan's trading market to grow much slower than that of many other countries.

Then there are taxation issues. Under Japan's current tax rules, a cryptocurrency startup can be taxed on unrealized gains in the value of its digital assets at the end of its first fiscal year. With the corporate tax rate set around 30%, the tax bill can easily wreck a startup's tight finances. ...continue reading