Business

Ed Drake

Crypto donations to politicians in Japan ‘not illegal,’ minister says

Politicians worldwide have already seen the benefits of accepting donations in crypto. Faster payments, lower transaction costs and greater transparency are already helping campaigns and politicians raise funds more effectively.

Now, a minister in Japan’s government has confirmed that cryptocurrency donations are legal within the country, clarifying what had been seen by many as a grey area of crypto and campaign finance laws in Japan. Sanae Takaichi, international affairs and communications minister of Japan, said crypto donations were not illegal during a press conference held earlier this week, paving the way for other politicians and campaigns to turn to crypto to fund their work.

As reported in local press outlet Kyodo, the minister said that cryptocurrency can be used for donations to individual politicians, without the same disclosure requirements of other types of donation. According to the minister, crypto donations fall outside of the scope of the Political Funds Control Act, giving crypto donations a different legal status to donations in cash or securities.

Citing the current rules around disclosure of donations, Takaichi said, “cryptocurrencies do not fall under any of the above.”

Because it will limit the political activities of politicians, it will be a problem to be discussed by each party and each group.

The news provides welcome clarity for politicians in Japan who might consider accepting donations in cryptocurrency, amid growing uptake in the country. Particularly in light of the greater discretion around crypto donations, this is likely to prove appealing to both donees and political campaigns in Japan.

One of the most active regulators of cryptocurrency, Japan has taken a series of steps in recent months to regulate the sector.

Cryptocurrency has been regarded as a legal method of payment in Japan since 2017, with crypto exchanges subject to anti-money laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules since new laws were introduced to regulate the sector.

The clarification of the legal status of crypto donations from the government minister will now pave the way for other politicians and campaigns to accept funds in cryptocurrency, outside of the scope of traditional campaign finance rules.

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