Shibuya Ward taps Astar Network to develop Web3 strategy

abdelaziz Fathi

Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward has teamed up with multi-chain smart contract network Astar Network to launch several Web3 initiatives, including hackathons and educational programs.

As Tokyo’s preeminent commercial and finance center, Shibuya Ward houses two of the busiest railway stations in the world. This area is also known as one of the tech centers in Japan, particularly for major national and international corporations including Google.

The announcement states that Shibuya will leverage Astar’s expertise with Japan’s heavyweight brands to develop a Web3 strategy and host complementary events. Backed by Astar Network’s powerful ecosystem, the initiative will prioritize Shibuya’s Startup Support activities focused on web3.

This wasn’t the first interaction between the two parties as Shibuya will host the new headquarters of Startale Labs, a Singapore-based company founded by Astar Network CEO Sota Watanabe. Startale Labs creates the necessary dApps and infrastructure, such as wallets, lending and NFT marketplaces, for Astar’s WASM environment. It acts as the gateway for large enterprises to integrate with Astar Network and provides business consulting services based on its expertise in multi-chain protocol development.

Sota Watanabe said: “Shibuya is the largest city for young people in Japan and the city of startups. It’s known as Japan’s Silicon Valley, or “Bit Valley,” derived from a place in Shibuya(渋谷), combining Bitter (渋) and Valley (谷). We’re honored to have opened our office in this tech hub and to have signed a basic agreement with the city to utilize web3.”

Astar Network is a Japanese-based bridge connecting layer-1 blockchains like Ethereum and Cosmos with the Polkadot ecosystem.

The Web3 move by Shibuya Ward is notably not the first time a Japanese giant is making its entry into the blockchain space or embracing Web3.0-focused technologies. Astar Network has already onboarded global entertainment giant Sony, Japan’s top mobile carrier NTT Docomo and automaker Toyota to collaborate on mass adoption of Web3 as well as its social implementation.

Astar-Sony partnership launched a Web3 Incubation Program dedicated to advancing relevant technologies, with a focus on helping promising startups gain initial traction. Toyota is also exploring advances in the Web3 to create new experiences that will eventually be folded into concrete suggestions to improve the company’s operations.

To expedite the growth of Web3 in their native Japan, NTT Docomo will invest as much as $4 billion on the next-generation internet technology as it seeks to take a leading position using its mobile infrastructure over the next 5-6 years.

Astar Network run a national newspaper ad in Japan that set a new global record with participation from 329 blue-chip firms. The advert was a way of supporting the Japanese government and politicians who want to take the country into the Web3 era. Network CEO Sota Watanabe is already helping the government as well as some of its key business players on a path forward in Web3.

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