EEA Regional Representative Atsushi Ishii, CEO, Couger

The EEA recently welcomed Atsushi Ishii as the new EEA Regional Representative in Japan. Ishii will provide local support to ensure that regional members are well-positioned to leverage the EEA’s programs, interest groups, working groups and resources to achieve their desired business results.

His experience with blockchain communities will be a valuable asset in his efforts to engage the EEA’s growing member base, as he works to encourage business-oriented Ethereum initiatives in Japan. Atushi is the CEO of Couger, a long-time EEA member and artificial intelligence (AI) startup. He is also a frequent speaker at Ethereum business conferences on Ethereum’s role in accelerating Web3 business and digital experiences (DX) use cases.

The following is a Q&A with Ishii about his background and experience, his new EEA Regional Representative role, and his insights on local and regional trends. To get in touch with Ishii, connect with him in the EEA Member Portal or reach out via email or LinkedIn.

Please tell us more about yourself and your company.

As Couger’s CEO, I currently lead the development of a Virtual Human Agent (VHA) called Ludens, which uses a human-like interface, along with AI technology in the background, to make communication, and human-technology interaction, more human-like and natural using AI, robotics, IoT, and blockchain. In my role at Couger, I leverage past business experience including the development of various IBM services; multiple large-scale search engines at Rakuten and Infoseek; large-scale online games; a learning simulator for Honda; and a Japanese government-backed AI-based cloud robotics research initiative.

How do you hope to positively affect the EEA as the Regional Representative for Japan?

This is an exciting time in the industry. I look forward to working with local EEA members and companies within our regional Ethereum ecosystem. The EEA is well-positioned to help businesses worldwide innovate their approach to achieving business results with Ethereum.

As the Regional Head of the EEA’s Japan office, I look forward to being the point of contact for EEA members and evangelists for Ethereum. I encourage companies building on Ethereum and EEA members to connect with me about the EEA resources available to support their advancement. I will look forward to taking part in local hackathons, workshops, training sessions, and conferences to connect with businesses innovating with Ethereum.

How can EEA member companies in your region get involved?

Any company building on Ethereum or looking to tap into Web3 can connect with me to learn more about how the EEA can support them. EEA members in the region can work together to disseminate Ethereum business use cases with Japan’s unique characteristics. I welcome input and communication from all in the EEA member community and am also planning to hold an independent EEA event in Japan to bring the community together.

What current trends are you seeing in Japan, and do you think they differ from other regions?

Japan has one of the world’s top content industries, including manga, anime, and games, and these companies are accelerating their use of NFTs. The consumer electronics and automobile industries also have a large number of global brands looking to blockchain to advance their businesses, and as a result, Ethereum utilization is also advancing here. By holding workshops and collaborating with some of those major companies, we can collaborate with them around the business value of Ethereum in a more extensive, valuable way.

What first brought you to the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and why did you decide to become a member?

Within the blockchain community, we heard about the EEA from another member and joined in 2017 to connect with the leading business adopters, innovators and leaders within the Ethereum ecosystem. As the world becomes increasingly oriented toward digital experiences or “DX,” our team leverages the EEA community to discuss the ways business uses of digital assets are expected to grow. In this context, we can all better identify the ways that Ethereum can leverage its operational track record in the public blockchain.

The EEA is a community where we can share and discuss Ethereum initiatives and knowledge among domestic and international companies. As the EEA Regional Lead in Japan, I hope to expand how knowledge about business adoption of Ethereum is shared and utilized.

What are you currently working on concerning Ethereum? How will end-users benefit from your work? 

At Couger, I have been working with Blockchain EXE, a blockchain community with over 6,000 participants at domestic and international events, and ETHTerakoya, a community for highly specialized blockchain technology discussions and prototype development, in collaboration with the Ethereum Foundation and other community operations involving Japanese companies and overseas developers.

In addition, the Ethereum-based confidential protocol “zkCREAM,” originally developed by our company Couger, has been selected as an official program of the Ethereum Foundation, and its use is expanding.

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