On Thursday, November 3, 2016, "Magical Fukushima (*1)" kicked off. This is a festival to present charms of Fukushima Prefecture through events highlighting subcultures such as anime and cosplay. As a part of this festival, "Fukushima Moe Festival 2016(*3)" took place at "Yasuragi no Sato Aizu-Mura (*2)", where a demonstration experiment of "Moe-ka (萌貨)" was conducted. "Moe-ka" is a virtual community currency utilizing blockchain technology used by Cryptocurrencies typified by Bitcoin.
This experiment was conducted as a joint research project by the UoA, venture companies, the University of Tokyo and GLOCOM. It utilizes "Iroha", Japan's first blockchain technology accepted by the Hyperleger incubation project. Visitors used "Moe-ka", which can be used on the day of the event and within the event site, with a special smartphone app. Visitors earned "moe (currency unit)" by bringing their smartphones close together, picking up trash in the event site, or doing PR activities. With the "moe" they earned, visitors were able to buy food and drinks, or play a lottery to win goods and snacks.
This is the first attempt in Japan to apply "cryptocurrency" technology into a community currency that can be used in a specific region. In the future, it is expected to establish a system that allows local residents to earn virtual currency through contributive activities like picking up trash and shoveling snow and use it in the local shops. It will lead to activate communication between residents and vitalize local areas.
Comments from Associate Professor Yasushi FUJII (*3): When we started this cryptocurrency project this summer, we didn't have any big ideas about its potential. However, after many discussions and active exchange of opinions, we had finally developed it into such a major project that NHK came to interview with us. This is a proof that we can create a project on our own out of nothing. This is just a first step, though. I am honored to be part of the historical moment. I will gain more collaborators and grow the project even larger.
Visitors earned "moe" and spent them on lottery tickets (left) and snacks (right)
Flyer that explains "Moe-ka" (left) and a screenshot of the special smartphone app (right)
Participants in the demonstration experiment