State-Backed Japanese Mobile Operator NTT Docomo to Invest $4 Billion in Web3

Japan’s largest mobile network operator and local blockchain company Astar network is taking the lead to onboard masses onto web3.
Image source: Astar Network

Quick take:

  • NTT Docomo has partnered with Astar Network to invest $4 billion in web3.
  • The Japanese mobile operator wants to use its massive user base to accelerate the adoption of web3 in the country.
  • The two companies will facilitate initiatives that focus on addressing technological, social and organisational challenges using web3.

NTT Docomo and Astar Network have teamed up to accelerate the adoption of web3 in Japan. Japan’s largest mobile operator is investing 500-600 billion yuan ($4 billion) in the next iteration of the web to help solve various challenges related to barriers to web3 adoption, solving economic and environmental issues and offering opportunities to business leaders and engineers to learn more about web3.

Web3 is generally described as a next-gen internet powered by blockchain technology that focuses on user privacy, decentralised applications and trustless communication systems.

NTT Docomo and Astar are launching a web3 company in the fiscal year 2023.

Some of the world’s largest companies are investing in web3 infrastructure in a bid to make the web a more secure place. However, the ecosystem still remains relatively secluded from the wider spectrum of society, thus limiting its mass adoption.

As a result, blockchain startups are teaming up with consumer-facing companies to gain access to a bigger addressable market.

According to Statista, NTT Docomo recorded approximately 84.8 million mobile phone subscriptions as of the fiscal year 2021. The company’s most recent annual revenue (2021) came in at $44.4 billion according to Macro Trends data, making it Japan’s largest mobile network operator.

Astar network is a smart contract network that supports multiple blockchains. It connects the Polkadot ecosystem (the parachain-driven blockchain developed by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood) to  Ethereum, Cosmos, and all major Layer 1 Blockchains.

Astar will leverage its multi-chain network to help NTT Docomo onboard a big chunk of its massive user base to web3. The two companies will foster initiatives that address technological, social, and organizational challenges.

According to the announcement, Astar and NTT Docomo will establish a consortium that will oversee the adoption of governance tokens within corporations, helping build the foundation for blockchain-based decision-making.

Commenting on the partnership in a press statement, Astar Network CEO Sota Watanabe said: “Web3 and related technologies are about to cross the chasm and are on the verge of mass adoption. In this context, more robust cases with excellent user experience on an infrastructure that is accessible to everyone is essential. It is about making a society where more people can truly enjoy the benefits of Web3, not just engineers. Collaborating with NTT Docomo, a company that has created case studies that have been used by tens of millions of people, we will further spread Web3.”

The Japanese government owns one-third of NTT shares, the parent company of NTT Docomo.

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