Bitcoin is starting to gain a lot of attention in Japan as of late. Bitcoin exchange bitFlyer has recently opened up their online shop, letting users buy a variety of physical and digital goods with cryptocurrency.
Shop with Bitcoin at bitFlyer
Although it not uncommon to see online shops accepting Bitcoin payments, it is rather unusual for a Japanese Bitcoin exchange to set up their own store. BitFlyer, one of the leading Bitcoin exchanges in the country, recently opened an online shop for Bitcoin users, where they can buy electronics, gadgets, and even digital books with the popular cryptocurrency.
This move is part of a marketing effort by the bitFlyer team as they want to expand their presence in Japan. Additionally, this online store creates another use case for Bitcoin, something that has been direly needed in Japan. After all, there is very little reason to buy Bitcoin – other than from an investment perspective – unless it can be used or spent.
It is rather interesting to note bitFlyer has a customer base of over 150,000 users, and their recent addition of the Ethereum currency will have something to do with those numbers. Though the company is keeping a primary focus on Bitcoin, and the launch of their online shop only reinforces their dedication to putting cryptocurrency on the map in Japan.
As one would come to expect from an online store in Japan, the focus lies on electronics, gadgets, and digital books. The selection of items is still minuscule for the time being, but it does include a Playstation 4, the Surface Pro, and a drone.
There is one prerequisite to making use of the bitFlyer online store, though, as users will need an active exchange account to buy items with bitcoin. This might not be a dealbreaker for most people, though, as signing up for a bitFlyer account is quick and easy. Prices are displayed in both Japanese Yen and bitcoin, but customers can only use cryptocurrency to pay for their orders.
BitFlyer seems to be anticipating a massive expansion of the Bitcoin market in the country over the coming months and years. A different cryptocurrency exchange, called Zaif, recently reported their record turnover earlier this month. Considering how bitFlyer processes JPY 9 billion in bitcoin every month, it does appear there is growing demand in the country.
Bitcoin to Become Legal in Japan?
Part of this growing interest can be attributed to the open-minded approach Japanese government officials have when it comes to Bitcoin. The way things stand right now, there is a plan on the table to regulate cryptocurrency and make Bitcoin a legal currency in the country. However, there are plans are only being considered right now, and no official decision has been made yet.
Additionally, there is a call for Bitcoin regulation reforms, which would see local exchanges having to register with the Japanese Financial Services Agency. Policy makers hope this move will increase oversight of the Bitcoin industry, as well as prevent money laundering and terrorist financing attempts. Final decisions regarding these matters are expected before the end of May 2016, but no official dates have been set yet.
What are your thoughts on this new online store by bitFlyer? Will it help put Bitcoin on the radar of consumers? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: SMN Weekly
Images courtesy of bitFlyer, Shutterstock,Japanese FSA