East meets West at DAO Tokyo conference as Japan plays catch up


The 1,300-year-old Kanda Myojin Shrine in central Tokyo, a 10 minute walk from the blaring neon of anime and tech shopping district Akihabara, provided an impressive backdrop for the daylong conference on Thursday. 

Discussions included insider insights into building Web3, or the evolution of the current Internet into one built on decentralized blockchains that include virtual reality, cryptocurrencies and more. Other talks focused on the benefits of DAOs and the challenges in making them work.

Another backdrop for the event is the release a week earlier of a government-affiliated white paper calling for faster Web3 and DAO developments in Japan, a sign that Tokyo is joining its Asia financial-center rivals Hong Kong and Singapore in embracing digital asset industries. South Korea is also forging ahead with its own plans.

DAO’s are an “important part” of the country’s future, the white paper said, arguing the case that greater understanding of blockchain technologies and smart contracts employed in DAOs is needed in order to “unlock their potential” as a tool for regional revitalization and social engagement.

For event organizers Fracton Ventures, a Tokyo-based Web 3 incubator focused on DAO infrastructure development in Asia, the conference provided a rare opportunity to share ideas across what remains an East-West knowledge and capability divide. 

“As an incubator, we want to increase the number of DAO contributors, particularly in Asia,” Fracton Co-Founder Yudai Suzuki said when opening the conference. “I still can’t believe this is happening here. This is Tokyo, not New York. At previous DAO conferences, 1% or 2% were from Japan, but here we have a huge mix of people, including attendees from all over Asia.”

The Japan government’s recent pivot towards Web3 and DAOs is a huge positive for the industry, Fracton’s Suzuki said in an interview at the event. But while that interest is leading to increased opportunity, he said the greatest potential is in the development of a community uniting Japan’s globally minded crypto natives.

This new generation is “open to communicate and open to connect globally,” he said, the ideas and technologies they are working on not just the “copy and paste model from San Francisco, but a complete change of mindset” to help the maturation of a Japanese Web3 ecosystem.

Catching up

Flying in from the concurrent Hong Kong Web3 Festival, APAC Growth Lead for MakerDAO Jocelyn Chang said she could feel the buzz generated by the event and the international crowd it had attracted to Japan. 

However, the country has some catching up to do if it is to compete with neighbors Hong Kong and Singapore, she said, which have both fast-tracked development of a crypto regulatory framework with the aim of becoming the regional hub for the industry.

“Singapore has actually got an advantage and an edge because they started building their regulatory framework three years ago and now Hong Kong is pushing for it,” she said.

“It is still very nascent for Hong Kong, but it’s game changing because this is the first time that we’re seeing Hong Kong getting that soft backing from the Chinese government.”

In Japan’s case, she added, if the recent white paper works to kickstart the development of a regulatory framework, “I’m pretty sure that they can actually do something similar to what Hong Kong and Singapore did.”

The regional competition between Japan and its neighbors is something that Chelsea Kubo, co-founder and chief operations officer of DAO-focused development company Koris, feels could spur Japan to accelerate its Web3 plans. 

Move fast

In an interview after speaking at a panel on DAO development, she said she could see Japan making efforts to keep up with its neighbors, capitalizing on its unique position as an Asian country aligned closely with economies in the West. 

“But it’s a rough landscape out there,” she cautioned. “America’s becoming very tough on crypto as well as Europe, and so Japan might end up also tightening a little bit and might not be as progressive as we hear at this time. But we’ll have to see in the next couple of months to half a year how the narrative really starts to develop.”

In the meantime, events such as DAO Tokyo, by bridging the divide between East and West, represent nothing but upside after the crypto market pummelling of 2022, said Francesco Renzi.

The co-founder and CEO of asset streaming protocol Superfluid told Forkast that he feels such events are vital for connecting the international crypto community with local audiences.

“There are plenty of people in Japan who are working in DAOs and working around DAOs, but I would say at the moment that most of the expertise is still coming from the West,” he said. 

“I believe that is set to change. A lot of the people I have been talking to are very excited to do more in Japan and there do seem to be some movements on the regulatory side to make that easier.”

Should that happen, he argued, it would be no great leap of the imagination to see Japan becoming a crypto hub in its own right. 

“People are migrating based on what they need and that is usually regulatory clarity or tax rules. Those are the ways to attract a crowd and the crowd moves very quickly,” he said. 

DeGods begins migration to Ethereum


DeGods, the largest Solana-based non-fungible token (NFT) collection by all-time sales volume, started its migration to the Ethereum blockchain on Saturday morning in Hong Kong.

See related article: Solana NFT sales surge as traders farm for Tensor rewards

Fast facts

  • Despite the migration, activity on the Solana network has been increasing, with the Forkast Solana Composite, a measure of the Solana NFT market, rising by 2.9% over the past 24 hours.
  • On Wednesday, DeGods’ sister project Y00ts began its move to Polygon. Around 80% of Y00ts had already completed the move, according to data from Dune Analytics.
  • DeGods owners completed over US$2.19 million in sales on Friday alone, marking the highest amount since the NFTs were initially minted in October 2021, according to CryptoSlam, the data arm of Forkast Labs.
  • The rising activity may indicate traders anticipating DeGods’ price to rise on Ethereum, just as it has with Y00ts, whose floor price is up by more than 50% since the NFTs began to land on Polygon, CoinGecko data shows.
  • The deflationary collection, which began with a 10,000 NFT mint, had a floor price of 939 SOL (US$19,940), experiencing a 29.6% surge in the 24 hours leading up to 1 p.m in Hong Kong, according to CoinGecko data. DeGods on Ethereum had a floor price of 10.4 ETH (US$19,000).
  • DeLabs, the Los Angeles-based NFT firm behind DeGods and Y00ts, announced the projects’ moves to their designated blockchains in December 2021, which was the same month that Solana’s native coin, SOL, dipped below US$10 for the first time since early 2021. The startup received a US$3 million grant from Polygon to migrate blockchains.
  • The migration of DeGods from Solana is expected to drain around US$200 million, the estimated market capitalization of the NFT collection, from the blockchain.

See related article: Top Solana NFT projects find new homes on Ethereum, Polygon

The digital economy needs a better BS detector — so we are building it through data transparency


We are in the business of bursting bubbles. 

Today we are launching the first of our family of Forkast Labs indexes. To start, this set of indexes will measure the NFT economy. It is the first step to ultimately becoming the most sophisticated measurements of the tokenized world. 

Our flagship Forkast 500 NFT Index will provide the cleanest view to-date from a multi-chain perspective, tracking thousands of projects from 21+ protocols and monitoring the truest look of the overall market. We factor out wash trading and other suspicious trading behavior so that investors can fully understand the market environment and participate with the greatest transparency possible. It measures the performance of the global NFT market and can include assets on any blockchain: consider it a proxy of the entire NFT market.

We’ve also introduced two important subsets of the overall Forkast 500 NFT Index: Forkast ETH NFT Composite and Forkast SOL NFT Composite indexes. Each measures the performance of each protocol’s NFT market and currently scans 2,000 eligible smart contracts on any given day. More are coming.

Because we’ve been in the market of monitoring, tracking, standardizing and indexing multi-chains — we look for behavior and markers without championing any single protocol. In the coming days, months, and years — you’ll get an increasingly sophisticated view of how the industry is truly performing and have better tools to decide how you want to interact with the web3 market as an investor. In fact, we’ve already started.

Just this past week, our team identified what’s now close to US$1 billion worth of artificial inorganic trade (some would call wash trading, we call it gaming behavior) that should be stripped out in order to evaluate true overall NFT market activity as Blur and OpenSea go head-to-head for market dominance in the market. 

Why is this important? 

If you were an investor, you might have thought that NFTs are back and rushed to buy in. That would have been the wrong thing to do. Our data shows that much of the “growth” in activity centered on gamification of trying to get airdrops, instead of authentic new participants bringing liquidity to the NFT marketplace. In fact, overall, our Forkast 500 NFT index reveals that the overall the market is sloping down from its YTD January high. This will change, as will sentiment, and market action — but at Forkast Labs, we apply the greatest value we can apply to the industry — to take an agnostic and holistic multi-chain view. 

Our thesis is simple. We see the world accelerating very quickly into the digital economy — defined by tokenized assets along with cryptocurrencies. The trendline has always been less about price, but about use case and adoption. NFTs reflect both use cases and representations of a desired asset. As NFTs can be data wrappers for all kinds of digital assets – not just collectibles – they will have a critical role to play in a future digital economy.

But the indexes and the data available today have not reflected the sophistication of the technology, its data, or the complexities of market behavior. In short, we’ve been underserved and at worse, misled by the current measure of “value” and economic activity because the primary indicators available to the industry have been price and sales volume. The market deserves better. 

Data transparency is how we’ll get there.