What is ICL ? – No.1 NFT Alpha Group in Japan

In the global NFT space, alpha groups have played a key role in the expansion of the market. Alpha groups allow their members to share information about various NFT projects and opportunities.

Surprisingly, there hadn’t been any NFT alpha communities established in Japan until recently. This was mainly due to its small market size and the slow growth of the industry there. However, as some Japanese influencers and celebrities started to enter the NFT space, the need for high-quality private alpha groups started to grow.

Taking advantage of the current trend, Ikehaya, a Japanese NFT/business influencer, set up the ICL alpha group.

In this article, I will give you details about ICL so that you can understand how this community might influence and help grow the Japanese NFT market in the future.

I have also included some of Ikehaya’s comments from my recent interview with him!

Full disclosure: I’m a collaboration manager of ICL at the time of writing. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

  • ICL is a private crypto investment community founded by a Japanese NFT influencer, Ikehaya, with more than 3100 members
  • Members can share information on any crypto-related topics including NFTs
  • The group gives out selected Japanese NFT projects’ allowlists to members (i.e. Live Like A Cat collection)
  • The group plans to expand the service in English as it recently has appointed an English-speaking community manager
  • The group plans to release its own collection, Houou, in 2023
  • Members pay a one-off joining fee of 98,000 Japanese Yen (about 0.5 ETH) – conditions apply for accessing closed alpha channels within the group

You can join ICL from here (see below for the translation of payment pages).

What is ICL?

Originally, Ikehaya founded ICL (Ikehaya Cryptocurrency Lab) in February 2021 for members to learn and share exclusive information on the following topics:

  • Cryptocurrency trading ideas
  • Decentralized finance (DeFi) projects on various chains
  • Blockchain games including play-to-earn and move-to-earn games

ICL started with a small number of crypto enthusiasts as Ikehaya catered to only experienced investors by prohibiting beginners from joining.

Over time, it gained a strong reputation and became one of the most significant private crypto investment groups in Japan. ICL has over 3100 members at the time of writing.

“As the global NFT market started growing, it was a natural move for me to focus more on NFTs. Already having many knowledgable and wealthy crypto investors in the community, I was confident that I could create an alpha group that would influence and help expand the Japanese NFT market,” Ikehaya said.

Ikehaya set up NFT-specific channels within ICL in August 2022.

Who is Ikehaya?

Ikehaya is a business and web marketing influencer with a total of over 450,000 social media followers in Japan.

He is well-known as the founder of NinjaDAO and the lead marketer of the CryptoNinja Partners (CNP) collection. NinjaDAO is the biggest NFT community in Japan, with over 60,000 members at the time of writing. CNP is the No.1 generative collection by market capitalization in Japan.

He had been a cryptocurrency enthusiast since early 2017 and has a wealth of knowledge across DeFi, blockchain games, and NFTs. He also owns CryptoPunks and BAYC.

  • 2009-2018: Ikehaya Blog reached 3 million monthly page views
  • 2018-2019: Business YouTube channel, Ikehaya Daigaku, reached 250,000+ followers
  • 2021: Founded a crypto investment community,  Ikehaya Cryptocurrency Lab (ICL)
  • 2022: Founded NinjaDAO

He is one of the rare influencers who managed to evolve over time and kept expanding his follower base.

ICL: Hub for Japanese NFT Collections

Apart from regular NFT channels, there are two closed alpha channels within the ICL community. The criteria* for gaining access to these channels are:

  • Alpha-Diamond: You need to hold at least 10 CryptoNinja Partners (CNP) or at least 1 CryptoNinja
  • Alpha-Standard: You need to hold CryptoNinja Partners, Live Like A Cat & Aopanda party (must have ALL THREE)

*criteria are subject to change without notice.

About 300 members have access to the Alpha-Diamond & 1000 members to the Alpha-Standard channels at the time of writing.

“The Japanese NFT market is still in its infancy and has much potential to expand from here. I believe that the ICL will play a key role in the growth of the Japanese market, ” Ikehaya commented.

It is worth noting that as ICL’s reputation strengthened, founders and marketers of Japanese NFT collections started to join the community. As a result, the group has become a hub for the founders to connect and form alliances.

It’s a great place to get first-hand information directly from the project founders. This is a unique characteristic of ICL, which I haven’t seen in other alpha communities.

How About Allowlists?

The ICL members get access to various allowlists of Japanese NFT collections. However, the aim of ICL is to provide a community where members can share information and support each other. Thus, allowlists distribution is considered an extra perk that members can receive.

That being said, the fine reputation of the group makes it a desirable community for allowlist distributions. As a result, collections like Live Like A Cat, Aopanda party, and Shikibu World have provided allowlists to ICL members. More collections like XANA: Penpenz is expected to give out the AL to the group.

Houou Collection

The group is in the process of creating its own fully on-chain generative collection, Houou (鳳凰).

Ikehaya san came up with the idea because he wanted to create a collection for the community members to own as a membership badge. So, he plans to offer it as a free mint and give the AL to all ICL members.
The team aims to try out new blockchain technology on the Houou collection. Thus various unities are expected to be added after the release.
Currently, four different stages of the reveal are planned:
The release schedule of the collection is spring/summer of 2023.

How to Join ICL?

You can join ICL here with a one-time joining fee of ¥98,000 (about 0.5ETH). Please see below for the translation of the payment pages.

The group originally started with only Japanese channels. However, due to the demand from overseas investors, the English channel was created in late 2022.

The number of overseas members is growing, so the group appointed an English-speaking moderator recently. It plans to expand its services in English, too.

“Once the Japanese market grows, our global presence will naturally increase,” Ikehaya says. “We hope to have a positive influence on the global NFT market expansion by connecting with overseas investors in the near future”.

It is fair to say that high-quality alpha groups like Proof Collective have assisted in educating investors and contributed to the growth of the global NFT space.

So, could ICL become the Japanese Proof Collective?

I’ll keep you updated!

How to join ICL?

You can join ICL by paying a one-off joining fee of 98,000 Japanese Yen. Please click on the link box and follow the below instruction.


The content is for informational purposes only. Investment/financial opinions expressed by Web3 Zen.com are not recommendations. As always, please do your own research prior to making any investment decisions.

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