Web3 CMO Stories

RYO: An Ancient Japanese Currency... Re-born for the Digital Age – with Lani Dizon | S4 E07

May 10, 2024 Joeri Billast & Lani Dizon Season 4
RYO: An Ancient Japanese Currency... Re-born for the Digital Age – with Lani Dizon | S4 E07
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Web3 CMO Stories
RYO: An Ancient Japanese Currency... Re-born for the Digital Age – with Lani Dizon | S4 E07
May 10, 2024 Season 4
Joeri Billast & Lani Dizon

Japan is strategically positioning itself as a global leader in Web3. While lawmakers and regulators in the U.S., Europe, and other countries in Asia have adopted a cautious stance towards cryptocurrency, Japan continues to boldly champion the advancement of Web3 as a pivotal component of its national strategy.

Lani Dizon is the co-founder of Zenza Capital and the innovative RYO project, Japan's first Layer-1 blockchain launch. In our conversation, we explore how RYO aims to simplify cryptocurrency for mass adoption.

⚠️ 𝙄𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝘾𝙧𝙮𝙥𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝘽𝙤𝙣𝙙, 𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙕𝙚𝙣𝙯𝙖 𝘾𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙩𝙖𝙡, 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙛𝙤!

This episode was recorded through a Podcastle call on April 3, 2024. Read the blog article and show notes here: https://webdrie.net/ryo-an-ancient-japanese-currency-re-born-for-the-digital-age-with-lani-dizon/

Ready to upgrade your Web3 marketing strategy? Don’t miss Consensus 2024  on May 29-31 in Austin, Texas. It is the largest and longest-running event on crypto, blockchain and Web3. Use code CMOSTORIES to get 15% off your pass at www.consensus2024.coindesk.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Japan is strategically positioning itself as a global leader in Web3. While lawmakers and regulators in the U.S., Europe, and other countries in Asia have adopted a cautious stance towards cryptocurrency, Japan continues to boldly champion the advancement of Web3 as a pivotal component of its national strategy.

Lani Dizon is the co-founder of Zenza Capital and the innovative RYO project, Japan's first Layer-1 blockchain launch. In our conversation, we explore how RYO aims to simplify cryptocurrency for mass adoption.

⚠️ 𝙄𝙛 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙚𝙙 𝘾𝙧𝙮𝙥𝙩𝙤 𝘾𝙤𝙣𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝘽𝙤𝙣𝙙, 𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙗𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙕𝙚𝙣𝙯𝙖 𝘾𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙩𝙖𝙡, 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙄 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙜𝙚𝙩 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙛𝙤!

This episode was recorded through a Podcastle call on April 3, 2024. Read the blog article and show notes here: https://webdrie.net/ryo-an-ancient-japanese-currency-re-born-for-the-digital-age-with-lani-dizon/

Ready to upgrade your Web3 marketing strategy? Don’t miss Consensus 2024  on May 29-31 in Austin, Texas. It is the largest and longest-running event on crypto, blockchain and Web3. Use code CMOSTORIES to get 15% off your pass at www.consensus2024.coindesk.com

Lani:

like the internet was so complicated over 30 years ago and it wasn't until Hotmail came along and Facebook came along with platforms that made people want to get on. Hotmail made it easy for people to get on Facebook and socialize on Facebook and gain friends. It wasn't until then that it helped internet truly become adopted around the globe.

Joeri:

Hello everyone and welcome to the Web3 CMO Stories podcast. My name is Joeri Billast and I'm your podcast host, and today I'm really excited to be joined by Lani. Lani, how are you?

Lani:

I'm wonderful and I really appreciate you having me on today. Thank you so much, Joeri.

Joeri:

Yeah, happy to have you, Lani. Guys, if you don't know Lani Dizon, she's an incredible woman in the Web3 space and over the last decade, Lani has ventured into the crypto space, increasing the awareness of crypto and blockchain throughout Japan. She co-founded Zanza Capital and the innovative project, the RYO project, japan's first layer one blockchain launch. So, yes, to start with Lani, can you share the story behind the RYO coin and start where you want to start?

Lani:

Okay, absolutely. Over the past 30 years. When I started my career, my background was mainly in the field of health and wellness. I created my own product lines and worked on empowerment, life coaching, helping people to grow their entrepreneurial careers. I did that all over the world, but mainly with the focus on Japan, and that has always been. My passion is health and wellness, because I believe that is critical beyond anything and I wasn't looking to get into technology. My business partner of 30 years his name's Anthony Diaz and he's the co-founder. He's the founder and the chairman of this project and he introduced me to Bitcoin in 2011.

Lani:

I tried to get a wallet and it was extremely complicated. And then I also tried to Sorry, okay, let me my business partner of 30 years, Anthony Diaz. He's the founder and chairman of this project and he's the one that introduced me to Bitcoin back in 2011. I tried to create a wallet at that time and it was extremely complicated. The technology was very difficult to understand, even for an experienced entrepreneur like myself, let alone an average person. So, although the importance of this evolution into cryptocurrency and blockchain was very clear that it would spawn limitless opportunities and advancements that will change the world we discovered that there was a lot of challenges behind it as well, mainly from a customer perspective. So cryptocurrency again too difficult to understand. The process of getting a wallet was too difficult to understand. Too difficult to understand. The process of getting a wallet was too difficult to understand. Attempting to buy Bitcoin was even more difficult. Locating stores that would accept crypto was very challenging. So there is a lack of usability.

Lani:

So when we looked at the backbone also, which is blockchain, there were a lot of challenges to blockchain as well that were blocking mass adoption, and so we were very much in the infancy stage. This was back in 2000. But, knowing the importance of this technology, we saw a need to address mass usability. So what we did is we created teams that would focus on creating solutions to these challenges, with Japan being the main foundation of our business over the past 30 years. We envisioned RYO. RYO is the ancient Japanese currency, and we wanted to make it reborn for the digital age. We envisioned great opportunities for Japan and the world, and so this vision sparked Zenda Capital's creation of the RYO project back in 2017. And since then, we've been very passionately focused on this project, creating solutions to the challenges in this space, and so the RYO project was developed as a revolutionary digital payment system that would help facilitate cryptocurrency and Web3 adoption to the world through its unique and expansive ecosystem that is easy to understand and use in everybody's daily lives. So that is the goal.

Joeri:

Wow, it's exciting and listening to you and hearing that it's already so many years you're working, you are in this space, but what's also interesting for me is that you are in Japan and the coins is predicted to dominate in Japan, but you're also, I think, you are going to launch in the USA. So those are different markets. So I'm curious to hear the differences, how you see these different challenges, opportunities in these different markets.

Lani:

Yes. So Japan has very unique challenges, but overcoming those challenges brings a lot of vast opportunities, and that would position Rio to be a leader in the global marketplace, and I'll explain why. To be a leader in the global marketplace and I'll explain why. Japan is known for its unique regulatory framework that supports cryptocurrency trading. They are very proactive because they lost their chance to lead during the internet revolution with cryptocurrency, back with the internet revolution, I'm sorry, okay. So they're so proactive because they lost their chance years ago to lead the Internet revolution and they don't want to miss their chance with cryptocurrency and Web3.

Lani:

There's so many outside coins that have attempted to come into Japan but couldn't even pass the first step in the screening process. So the FSA has created a unique approach to the regulation by forming what's called the JVCEA, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association, and its board comprises of top executives of each exchange and we are very closely involved with that. So we have uniquely built this RYO project from within Japan to ensure that it complies with the strict regulations for long-term stability and that keeps our standards high as we expand globally. So, with all of our hands-on experience in Japan over the past 30 years, it's been by far the most difficult country to operate in because it's so demanding. If you can succeed through the scrutiny and the regulations in Japan, you can basically succeed anywhere. So to give you an idea of the difficulty, there's been over 20,000 cryptocurrencies in the global market. Now it's falling. It's down to the last time I checked was about 13,000 after deducting a lot of the dead and delisted coins. But Japan is so much more controlled with stringent regulations, so there's only about three dozen coins that are approved and listed on exchanges in Japan. So that's a huge difference. So the JVCEA actually approves each cryptocurrency and then there is oversight by the Japan FSA.

Lani:

So, although it's widely understood that Japan is a global leader in technology, it's known for advancements in innovations for electronics, robotics, automobiles, bullet trains, cutting-edge pop culture with anime, gaming, fashion, and there's a lot of demand here in Japan for high-quality convenience and, most especially, the government protects Japanese consumers very much, and also, on top of that, japan being the third largest economy.

Lani:

For many years now it's the fourth, but it's very impressive because, for all that it is and the economy for Japan, it could actually fit in California, and so it's truly a fascinating country and many people, young and old, are enamored by the mystery of Japan and for most people it is on their bucket list to come to Japan.

Lani:

So, with RYO embodying the Japanese culture and the historical significance that we feel will be embraced by not just the Japanese but Americans and people all over the world, because everyone understands Japan's quality, honor, trust and pursuit of perfection. And, even more important, RYO is already embraced and highly anticipated in the Japanese market through all of our efforts here. So there's a reason why we started in Japan and that is the reason why I've already taken this approach with my line of products my health and wellness and skincare products and because I built it in Japan and built my networks in Japan and created so many testimonials, other countries automatically wanted my products because they understood the quality and so, knowing this Japan being the most difficult country to operate in, especially for foreigners, due to cultural barriers and extreme protection of consumers, that is Japan's utmost priority is consumer protection. So meeting that high level of standard and regulations for in America, in Japan and in America the world is, it's an asset because it, along with that, comes with a lot of trust that we feel is going to be embraced.

Joeri:

Wow, you mentioned Japan, that. It's on people's bucket list. It is on mine, too, and I see a lot of. We look at Japan indeed like it's a fascinating country. A lot of things are happening. We look at Europe, also people from the US, we look at Japan, but what is interesting also to me is let's talk about simplifying crypto for the masses. So what are some of the strategies that you are employing to demystify cryptocurrency through RYO and especially for those people with no prior crypto experience?

Lani:

Yes. So it's a wonder that even after 15 years since Bitcoin's inception, how the crypto space has involved exponentially, it's still so complicated for the average person. I feel that the major cause for that is that people are so focused on the underlying technology, trying to understand it and decipher it. Which coin and blockchain is better for an investment, rather than being able to use crypto as a peer-to-peer digital money the way it was envisioned to be. So achieving simplicity and usability for mass adoption is truly the test that it's going to work. So our target is to achieve that. Just like the internet was so complicated over 30 years ago and it wasn't until Hotmail came along and Facebook came along with platforms that made people want to get on, hotmail made it easy for people to get on Facebook and socialize on Facebook and gain friends. It wasn't until then that it helped internet truly become adopted around the globe.

Lani:

So the reality is the majority of people are looking for benefits to convenience. We look at cars and washing machines and Uber, restaurants, instacart all this technology, text, email, credit cards and we never have to learn the underlying technology behind it. So we don't have to learn how Visa works, how MasterCard works or PayPal or Venmo. It's the simplicity and the convenience behind the payment system that allows people to adopt it. So we really and again, with technology like Tesla, we don't need to learn to drive it. We don't need to learn the technology behind iPads and iPhones to be an Apple expert in order to be able to use it.

Lani:

Yet so many people are focusing on cryptocurrency the underlying technology before they invest in it, which also causes a lot of complication, and so this is highlighted to me because my experience in my nutritional products as well I remember that when I was building this large network of over 300,000 people, of affiliates that would earn income by sharing products my products with others, they didn't have to understand the technology, they didn't have to have the scientific background of the products in order to share it with other people, to share the benefits with other people, and so this is the same kind of concept here. So I feel like it's really time to evolve and to make this shift from focusing so much on learning the technology to enjoying the benefits and convenience of crypto for day-to-day transactions, and our goal is to represent crypto for the people. This is the People's Crypto Project. That's our goal in simplifying, and it is through our ecosystem that we've created and I agree with you when I explain that to people too.

Joeri:

When you pay with your credit card, you are not wondering what is happening. You just do this, like with a lot of things, but with like with FabTree, and people want to Because, no, don't, just make it easy for people to understand what they ask me what is blockchain? It's a chain of blocks and you just make it easy for people and then that they should not worry and just know that it works. You mentioned, yeah, the ecosystem. So interesting for our listeners also is to understand the different components that the real ecosystem has, and I know there is something like the life wallet and so on, so I'm curious to learn more.

Lani:

Yeah. So we have created an ecosystem unlike anything that has ever been created for this industry. We have developed a unique, user-friendly and expansive ecosystem that allows RYO to be used for day-to-day transactions through our own proprietary digital life wallet. And this digital life wallet also connects to our first of its kind crypto friendly e-commerce platform. And then that's all fortified with the first FSA approved license that we received to build out a crypto ATM network in Japan. So we already have a couple of the crypto ATM networks here, and then we're going to be launching hundreds more this year and then followed by over 2000 next year is the goal.

Lani:

So with this ecosystem, we are making it very simple for people on a day-to-day basis to be able to buy and sell crypto very easily.

Lani:

So imagine going to a crypto ATM and you buy crypto or you sell, and then, when you buy, that goes to your like wallet and then, right from your like wallet, you can go online and start shopping on the global mall.

Lani:

So this enables customers and merchants to participate in the new crypto economy with trust and confidence, leading to mass adoption of crypto as a legitimate and safe method of payment and store of value that is also regulator-friendly. And imagine that outside of Japan in America the last I checked, there was over 35,000 crypto ATMs globally, and we have the first license for Japan to build a crypto ATM network to make buying and selling of crypto very easy. So ATM's are huge part of Japan. They're located in every post office, every convenience store, on every single block, and so what we've achieved here is very unprecedented. So we're very excited about that, and so one of the things that make it very unique this ecosystem is that how we created the Life Wallet is very simple, and I was very involved with creating the user interfaces of the Life Wallet to ensure that it was familiar to understand compared to a lot of the platforms that we use today. So the LifeWallet is very simple, the Global Mall is very easy to onboard and the crypto ATMs are very simple to use.

Joeri:

It seems also something that people know. It makes it easy this ATM network. People know it. It's just yeah. So I think this is really something with a lot of potential. I also understood that there are some social features integrated in the Life Wallet. Can you explain?

Lani:

Yeah, definitely so.

Lani:

With the Life Wallet, we wanted to create a multifunction platform, unlike anything else, so it has to be user-friendly, it has to be secure, and it stores RYO and it also stores other cryptocurrencies.

Lani:

But we wanted to make it. The reason why it's called a LifeWallet is because it incorporates a lot of. The reason why we called it the LifeWallet is it incorporates a chat service and also the ability to send RYO through chat in a few simple steps, as well as Bitcoin and Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies that we choose. It also has a built-in connect feature, and this connect feature allows you to access any of your favorite websites and social media platforms without even leaving the LifeWallet, so it acts as a portal to your digital world, and so we also have a refer a friend feature that allows you to share RYO and a life wallet with other people in order to earn RYO and rewards. So it has so many different features that a lot of other crypto wallets do not have, and so these types of features basically helps with these features, basically helps to enhance user engagement while keeping it very user-friendly.

Joeri:

It looks when I hear you speak about it, I just want to try it. It'd be fantastic to have all these integrated together, because that's actually what people like, that everything is coming together. Another aspect is and obviously in Web3 even more than in Web2, it's the community building. So I'm also curious to hear about a project like RYO. What are your approaches of growing your community?

Lani:

Although we are operating in high tech, it is crucial to have high touch, and especially in the Japanese community. Over the past six years, we've been passionately educating people, through seminars across Japan, about cryptocurrency and blockchain and how it's going to spawn limitless opportunities and advancements that will change the world, just like the internet has done over 30 years ago. So all we know I'm sorry, so, as we all know, the cryptocurrency demographic usually excludes the older generation, right, so they're the toughest to onboard. But we've been able to bridge that gap here in Japan between the young and the old by doing educational seminars across Japan and holding frequent live events. So what we found is that the elderly wants to understand and be part of their children's future and next generations by participating in this space. So after our education about how it's going to change the world. So we have built a very strong following of Rio enthusiasts from men, women of every age group who are very proud to be part of this world changing project. So we're very confident that we are being embraced now in Japan with a strong link to their heritage heritage with RYO being the original gold currency of Japan and promoting Japanese culture. And outside of Japan, we really feel that we're going to also expand this culture and this usability and build and support a community outside of Japan and build and support a community outside of Japan.

Lani:

Actually, it was just until one month ago.

Lani:

It wasn't until one month ago that RYO was very confidential. It was kept very confidential until we received the OK from advisors to release our official website and to release our social media for the global market in English only. So it's been the best kept secret in the crypto space, and so we're very excited for people to discover RYO, and so we're now growing and nurturing our global community outside of Japan, and we just feel very confident that when people crypto, aware or not, will notice our unique mission, our approach and all the efforts that we put into strategically building this project right. We feel that it's going to be very well embraced, and what we're seeing so far from the people that are looking at our project from crypto, from crypto enthusiasts to people that don't really understand the crypto world what we're seeing based on the feedback is wonderful, wonderful feedback. So we're very quickly trying to get the word out as fast as possible through social media, podcasts like this, events and other methods of exposure, because definitely, building a community is essential for Web3 projects.

Joeri:

Yeah, it is, and you've come such a long way already with this project and now, like you said, it was the best kept secret. But also, what I like to ask in my podcast episodes is ask people what are they most excited about at the moment, but probably it's the upcoming launch, or is there something else that's coming for you?

Lani:

I'm really excited because it's taken us seven years to get here, and seven years because of COVID and a lot of other things, especially regulation. The regulation has taken a lot of time and effort to ensure that we are able to launch in Japan, so we're very excited about that. We're also very excited that we have the first crypto convertible bond ever created in this industry. Now, actually, there was an attempt at a convertible bond with another crypto project years ago, and they raised billions of dollars, but unfortunately, with that, they were shut down by the SEC, and the very lawyer that was part of that shutdown is the very lawyer that has helped us to create this first of its kind crypto convertible bond. And so it was done by the top two of the top two law firms in the world Schuman, rogers and Linklaters.

Lani:

And so what that does? It allows people to get involved right now with the crypto convertible bond, obtaining RYO at the lowest price before the public launch. And what's different is, when we do the conversion, people are able to choose between the RYO or equity in the company, and that's the legality of how we got around making it legal. So in America it is only available to accredited investors, but outside of America. It's available to everybody. So we're excited to release that and it is available now.

Joeri:

I'm excited about it to actually be. I have had an investment club for years. So the financial markets I like to follow them, but that was before I was looking at crypto and so on. But those rules like technical analysis or bonds and whatever, so those rules still are interesting to understand and because, also in the crypto markets, it's interesting to have all this background, yeah, it's so much value that you gave us today. If people, if they want to learn more about RYO or maybe all the things that you're doing, where would you like to send them?

Lani:

I'd like to send them first to RYOcoin. com R-Y-O-C-O-I-N. com, and at the top of the website there is a short three and a half minute video that encompasses all that we're doing and you can see the live events that we do. You could see the market that we have our followers that are highly anticipating the project. It just gives a brief summary in three and a half minutes so that and then, if you're interested in the convertible bond, you could also go to RYOBOND. com. That is available through Zed the Capital Singapore.

Joeri:

Great. Like my listeners know, Lani, I always have a blog article with show notes linked to these episodes. If you're not listening and you're in the car or you're doing something else, be sure to check out my blog. All the links that Lani mentioned yeah, you can find them in there, and you can also find all the explanations that she gave about the RYO project. Thank you, Lani, it was really a pleasure to have you on the show.

Lani:

Oh, thank you so much. It was a pleasure being here and I really appreciate it.

Joeri:

Guys, what a wonderful episode with a wonderful guest. So if you think and I'm sure you think that this episode is useful for people around you think and I'm sure you think that this episode is useful for people around you, be sure to share these episodes with them with marketers, entrepreneurs, maybe your neighbor, friends and family, because we are living in interesting times and Rio is an interesting project. Also, people interested in Japan. I always love to hear from what's happening in other countries or cultures, so share episode with them. If you're not yet subscribed to the podcast, this is a really good moment to do this and, of course, I would like to see you back next time, take care.

Lani:

Thank you so much.

Could you please share the backstory of the RYO coin?
How do you plan to address the diverse market challenges and opportunities between Japan and the USA for the RYO coin?
How is RYO demystifying cryptocurrency for beginners, especially those with no prior experience, and what strategies are being used?
Could you explain the different components of the RYO ecosystem, such as the Life Wallet, for our listeners?
Can you elaborate on the social features integrated into the Life Wallet?
What strategies does RYO employ to grow its community?
Are you currently most excited about the upcoming launch of RYO, or is there another development or project that's capturing your attention at the moment?