Here at Bitcorati, I recently had the opportunity to interview Hiroshi Shimo of Japan. Hiroshi is a digital currency advocate that has been involved in the Bitcoin space since 2013. Since then, he has become a fan of other cryptocurrency projects such as Storj and GetGems. GetGems is a cryptocurrency that is built into a Telegram secure mobile communication app. Storj is an app that will create what is essentially a decentralized Dropbox, all completely secure and trustless. Hiroshi Shimo now runs the Cryptocurrency Tech Japan meetup and is excited about the future of Bitcoin and the blockchain.
Bitcorati Interview with Hiroshi Shimo
What is the demand for secure mobile communication like in Japan? What do existing users use? How do you plan to get users to use GEMZ?
I suppose that only tech guys care about secure messaging. Most of the non-tech Japanese use Line, Skype or Facebook Messenger without knowing how secure they are. So I’d focus on only people who care about secure messaging.
Are there people that are interested in Storj and Gems but aren’t interested in Bitcoin? Why?
Not many people know about Storj and GetGems in Japan. Probably they are known mainly among bitcoiners. Some people are interested in them as an investment. These apps are not well-known in Japan, because articles are only written among bitcoin related media.
What is the Japanese cryptocurrency community like?
There are only some enthusiasts here. One of the digital currency facebook groups has 1,300 members. Around 20-50 people show up at the weekly Bitcoin Tokyo Meetup. Cryptocurrency Tech Japan, which I’m running, has 225 members.
Who are your fellow leaders in the Japanese digital currency community?
Jimmy Homma and Tetsuyuki Ooishi from JDMA(Japan Digital Money Association).
Where can we spend bitcoin in Japan?
53 places accept bitcoin according to Coinmap.org.
Do you think that those living outside of the “first world” have different motivations for pursuing the furtherance of digital currencies and decentralization?
I think it’s totally different. Some countries have unstable fiat, many unbanked people, no internet access or less mobile phone holders. Most normal Japanese people have less motivation for learning about or using stable currency, banking or trustless sysytem.
How has digital currency and blockchain technology personally helped your life?
Currently not very much. But I really appreciate that I can buy some early stage crypto-assets all over world by bitcoins. And also that I can get work offers from all over the world now.
How has the world been changed by this new technology?
We are at very early stage of huge innovation, but the way that we do fund raising is totally changed.
What is your favorite quote?
I don’t really have one.
When and how did you first hear about Bitcoin?
I don’t quite remember when and how, But I’d heard of Bitcoin at least by early 2013 from a tech news site.
When did you first decide to dedicate time to digital currencies; how much of your time do you dedicate? Is this your full-time job?
I got an full-time job offer from a Bitcoin company in the summerof 2013, but I didn’t work for them. Then I started to spend half of my time from Feb 2014. Currently, I’m a full-time bitcoiner.
What is one piece of advice that you have for those around the world that might be aspiring to do what you do?
I really regret that I didn’t look into Bitcoin deeply when I heard about it the first time. If you are interested in new technology and the future, I’d recommend that you check out why blockchain technology is important.
What do you believe will be Bitcoin’s killer app in the near future? What about the far future?
I can’t imagine what it would be. It will be easy, simple and valuable service.
What is one thing that you’ve always wanted to tell the cryptocurrency community?
Let’s talk about the future of blockchain technology!
What audience has been the most receptive to your seminars and events? What do you think is the typical demographics of Japanese that are interested in digital currencies?
When I pitched about GetGems in a Bitcoin startup pitch event, I was surprised that there were 10-20 people who had already bought GEMZ. I guess that they had bought GEMZ as an investment.
Images from Wikipedia.