Japan has been among the first countries to start accepting cryptocurrencies and providing them with a friendly environment that enabled their further growth. The country remains crypto-friendly even now, which is confirmed by the recent decision made by Japan’s largest railway and subway operator, the JR (Japan Railways) Group.
According to recent reports, the company plans to add crypto as a payment option for its customers. The move might provide millions of Japanese coin holders with a new use case for their digital coins. Reports have also speculated that the move might include the JR Group’s collaboration with a major bank, and even launch a crypto company, most likely an exchange.
The move might also have a significant impact on Suica payment cards which allow Japan’s citizens to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrencies within the country. In the past 12 months, around 70 of the cards were issued — a number that might see a significant boost in months to come.
Meanwhile, the Group’s new exchange seems to be almost a certainty, as they already received a license by Japan’s regulator, the FSA, which allows the exchange to operate in Japan. The name of the exchange would be Decurret, and some predictions say that it might become operational by April 16th. If so, it would start trading BTC, BCH, LTC, and XRP.
Additional tokens and coins like Ethereum would arrive soon after, likely around June or July 2019. Meanwhile, the platform would use yen and Bitcoin as base currencies for online trading. On the other hand, the decision to launch the exchange might also be seen as a method of avoiding to pay transaction fees to a third-party platform. It would also add a new source of income for the railway company.
Crypto space keeps growing in Japan
The crypto scene in Japan continues to grow, and the announcement of the new exchange, as well as a new use case for multiple cryptocurrencies, would likely boost adoption within the country. The crypto ecosystem continued to grow even during 2018 crypto winter when the digital currency space lost approximately 85% of its total value.
Bitcoin trading in Japan did not suffer that much, however, which is likely due to the fact that BTC was a legal payment method ever since April 2017. Since then, a number of new businesses utilizing Bitcoin have come to exist, many of which are retailers.
Large, existing businesses opted to start accepting cryptocurrencies as well. Even the largest retailer, Rakuten, which is often called ‘Japan’s Amazon,’ started considering adding crypto payments. The company is reportedly also planning to launch its own crypto exchange, although it has yet to receive the regulator’s approval.
Another massive retailer, Bic Camera, has already started accepting Bitcoin payments in Japan, and it has done so well over a year ago. The retailer even reported an increase in BTC usage in 2018, despite the fact that the bear market damaged the coins’ prices by over 80% as the year progressed.
Indeed, the crypto scene in Japan continues its development, with the railway firm being only the last in line to start working with digital currencies. And, if experts are to be believed, the rest of the world is likely to follow Japan’s example in years to come.