Japan Teaches Western Governments a Lesson in Cryptocurrency Regulation

Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments With a Discount

Remixpoint, a Japanese company engaged in a number of energy-related businesses, has recently launched a new electricity service with bitcoin payments integrated to serve customers all over Japan. The company is now offering customers who pay with bitcoin a discount on their electricity bills. Bitcoin payments are processed by the company’s cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary, Bitpoint.

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Integrating Power Business with Bitcoin Payments

Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments With a DiscountEstablished in March 2004, Remixpoint is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of approximately 57 billion yen at press time. The company engages in a number of energy-related businesses such as developing and selling energy management systems; energy conservation consulting; selling energy-saving equipment; and electricity retailing.

Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments With a DiscountIn February 2016, Remixpoint developed a retail electricity business centered on high-voltage clients in the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) service area. This service was expanded across Japan in August this year. The company subsequently expanded its retail electricity business to service low-voltage consumers beginning on October 1. Low-voltage customers include households, corporations, and retailers.

Along with the new service, Remixpoint also announced the integration of bitcoin payments into its new offering. Bitcoin is not only accepted for electricity payments, but the company offers discounts for customers paying with the digital currency. The company wrote:

Payment of utility bills in virtual currency has already been introduced.

Bitcoin payments are made through the company’s subsidiary, Bitpoint, a cryptocurrency exchange and payment service provider.

Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments to Lower Cost to ConsumersLast week, Bitpoint became one of the first eleven bitcoin exchanges in Japan to be granted registration as a “virtual currency exchange” by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). In May, the exchange partnered with Peach Aviation to bring bitcoin payments to the airline and its affiliated stores. In addition, Bitpoint partnered with Evolable Asia to bring bitcoin payments to over 1,400 hotels and inns across Japan.

At the “Energy Innovation Japan 2017” event last week, the company promoted its new service, stating:

We introduce a new scheme that makes maximum use of the integration of the power retailing business and virtual currency exchange management…By using our electricity service, we propose a total cost reduction from existing services by introducing bitcoin and energy-saving equipment.

Service Areas

In Japan, the electricity market is divided up into 10 regulated companies. They are Chugoku Electric Power Company; Chubu Electric Power Company; Hokuriku Electric Power Company; Hokkaido Electric Power Company; Kyushu Electric Power Company; Kansai Electric Power Company; Okinawa Electric Power Company; Tohoku Electric Power Company; Shikoku Electric Power Company; and TEPCO.

Remixpoint purchases electricity from all of the aforementioned power companies except one, Okinawa Electric Power Company. Through the nine power companies, Remixpoint is able to provide electricity to customers all over Japan.

Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments to Lower Cost to Consumers

Promoting Cryptocurrency Payments

Large Japanese Energy Supplier Adds Bitcoin Payments to Lower Cost to ConsumersIn its announcement, Remixpoint stated that its target customers are corporations and retailers, citing tough competition for ordinary households. “Low-voltage customers in the retail electric power market have small electricity bills compared to high-voltage customers,” the company detailed, noting that the savings are minimal when additional costs such as “invoicing and transfer fees” are included.

The company, therefore, opened an account at Bitpoint to enable customers to pay with bitcoin and save on fees. According to reports, customers can save up to 3 percent in fees using this option. The company added:

We will promote the spread of virtual currency settlement in Japan by developing payment services that take advantage of the strength of reducing remittance and settlement costs, which is the original value of virtual currencies.

What do you think of Remixpoint’s strategy to integrate bitcon payments with its power business? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, FECP, Tepco, and Remix Point.


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