Japan Rep Office: Interview with Morio Katayama
As PumaPay is establishing itself within the competitive and evergrowing community of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, it is also expanding its presence in Asia with its first Representative Office in Japan. Morio Katayama has joined the PumaPay team as the Head of the Japanese office, where he will be working closely with the rest of the team based at the company’s headquarters in Limassol. We recently got the opportunity to discuss with him about the new position and his exciting plans to boost and grow PumaPay’s brand.
Welcome to the PumaPay family! You have recently joined the project, what are your first thoughts?
Thank you for the warm welcome. First, I am very excited to join the PumaPay project, which is going to transform and improve daily payments. Seeing that the subscription business model is getting more and more popular in many industries such as entertainment, I feel there is a huge potential for this project. Especially, this can create a whole new world where more practical applications of cryptocurrencies in daily transactions will become the norm.
Please tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your background, and what do you think of cryptocurrencies?
I am Morio Katayama. Please feel free to call me Morio (not “Mario” 😀 ). I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Having majored in Economics at college, I went on to work as a supply chain manager for 4 years in Tokyo and 2 years in Hong Kong. When I worked abroad and away from my family in Japan, it was always difficult to transfer money back home and across borders. It was then that I was first exposed to cryptocurrencies and started using them for transferring funds internationally and also trading for fun. The more I used and traded in cryptocurrencies, the more interested I became. I began studying blockchain projects and helping companies penetrate the Japanese market. Now I am a big blockchain fan and am expecting that such blockchain projects will be widespread across the world in the coming decades.
What are the main tasks for the Representative Office in Japan? What are you currently working on?
I am the only one authorized to act on behalf of PumaPay in Japan. My main tasks for the rep. office in Japan include, but are not limited to:
・Building and moderating the local online/offline communities for PumaPay
・Translating necessary documents/articles/etc. to Japanese and sharing them with the community
・Promoting the PumaPay protocol to local businesses
Now I am working on setting up a company in Japan and any details will be announced to the public once it’s ready.
You have recently visited PumaPay’s HQ in Limassol, Cyprus. Can you tell us more about it and the team?
I visited PumaPay’s HQ in Limassol, Cyprus in early September. I met CEO Yoav, other executives and team members. Everybody has been friendly, passionate, and dedicated to working hard. Having such a great team with a strong shared vision, I am confident that this project is going to be successful.
Will PumaPay be participating in events, conferences, etc., in Japan?
Yes. We are planning to participate in a big blockchain conference in Yokohama in January, 2019. I would like to invite the HQ team to provide exchange opportunities with contributors and business partners in Japan.
Besides that, I will host a number of seminars and information sessions at major cities in Japan. I will also join meetups and blockchain related events all over Japan.
If you want to invite PumaPay to your events, please feel free to ask us. We are open for suggestions 🙂
Japan is a big and exciting market for cryptos. Do you think there are any special reasons for PumaPay being so popular with the Japanese community?
One of the reasons is Mr. Sasaki, who has recently joined PumaPay as an advisor.
However, Japan has been a cash-based society with cash accounting for 70 per cent of all transactions by value, and it remains one of those countries with the lowest number of financial technology users. Things are changing though, as electronic money is becoming more favorable, slowly moving towards cards and mobile phone payments services. Additionally, Japanese banks have announced such research initiatives as the digital currency J Coin, which will be launched by 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics. This is obviously an attempt to wean the Japanese economy off its dependency on cash and to introduce electronic currencies to pay for products and transfer money using smartphones. So PumaPay is entering the Japanese market at the most opportune moment.
Where do you hope to see PumaPay in Japan in 3 years?
I am certain that PumaPay will be partnering with some great companies and individuals in the entertainment industry, particularly in the areas of anime, manga and adult entertainment.
For example, the PumaPay protocol facilitates recurring payments, making it easy to subscribe to watch your favorite movies, dramas and animes, while you can also sell your products/services/etc. and receive payments via the PumaPay protocol.
I hope to see PumaPay in famous online shops as one of the major payment methods, in 3 years.
What else would you like to tell us?
I am excited to see the future of everyday payments PumaPay will bring to us. Don’t miss it!