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Sony Ventures into Blockchain Territory: A Pioneering Move in Japan

Sony Network Communications takes the blockchain plunge, Japan's Web3 and blockchain movement
By Josefina Dipaolo
September 15, 2023

In a significant stride towards the dynamic realm of Web3 and blockchain technology, the renowned Japanese electronics and entertainment giant, Sony, has announced its foray into the blockchain space. The company's IT subsidiary, Sony Network Communications, is spearheading this endeavor in collaboration with Singapore-based Startale Labs, marking another noteworthy addition to Japan's growing roster of Web3 enthusiasts.

Historically recognized for its endeavors in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain, Sony Network Communications is now pivoting towards blockchain technology. According to reports from Nikkei and an official release from Startale Labs, both entities are joining forces to establish a joint venture firm, Sony Network Communications Labs, later this month. This strategic partnership underscores Sony's commitment to exploring new horizons and embracing blockchain's transformative potential.

On the social media platform X (Twitter), the CEO of Startale, a Japanese individual, hailed Sony's decision as "a historic" event. He revealed, "We will jointly develop Sony's blockchain with Sony. As Coinbase’s Base [layer 2 mainnet] grows, the Sony network will have the potential to surpass it and become the world’s top project. More details will be released in time."

Sony envisions that its subsidiary will leverage its expertise in "IoT, AI, and solution services" to contribute to the creation of a global infrastructure that underpins the emerging Web3 era. This move aligns with the conglomerate's dedication to staying at the forefront of technological innovation.

Sony's venture into blockchain technology is not a spontaneous development. The company has been actively exploring the blockchain sector since 2018 when it initiated work on blockchain-powered rights management solutions for digital content. Subsequently, in 2020, Sony began piloting blockchain-powered platforms tailored for Japanese pop (J-pop) groups under its Sony Music Group umbrella.

Sony's entry into blockchain territory places it among a growing cohort of Japanese companies embracing the Web3, blockchain, metaverse, and NFT trends. In recent times, various Japanese enterprises have embarked on similar journeys, signaling a paradigm shift in the country's tech landscape.

For instance, the watchmaker and electronics giant Casio recently announced its plans to launch an NFT line for its iconic G-Shock watch series. Sportswear giants Mizuno and Asics have also unveiled their respective NFT initiatives, showcasing their enthusiasm for blockchain technology.

Furthermore, Mitsubishi UFJ, one of Japan's major banks, has revealed detailed plans to enter the stablecoin arena, hinting at the financial sector's growing interest in digital assets. The bank intends to launch its own fiat-pegged token, along with a "digital assets wallet."

Automakers in Japan are not far behind in the Web3 race. Nissan introduced a "digital Web3 platform" for car racing enthusiasts, while Toyota sponsored a Web3 hackathon utilizing the Astar blockchain protocol.

In June, Honda solidified its commitment to Web3 by forging a "Web3 fan engagement" partnership with the startup Animoca Brands. These endeavors collectively underline Japan's growing embrace of Web3, blockchain, and the metaverse, as tech giants and traditional industries alike embark on a journey towards digital transformation.

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