In March 2017, the Japanese government passed the landmark Virtual Currency Act, which recognized cryptocurrencies as legal tender throughout the country. While neighbouring nations Korea and China have been taking steps to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges and clamp down on initial coin offerings (ICOs), Japan has fully embraced the use of Bitcoin and other digital currencies such as Ethereum. In fact, many industry experts have labelled Japan the “New Heart of Bitcoin.” Last year, there remained a lingering fear about the long-term future of Bitcoin and its legitimacy, but Japan played a large part in its increasing worldwide adoption.
Japan has become a haven for cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin’s roots are firmly in the country, with the Japanese entity Satoshi Nakamoto claiming to have developed the concept of Bitcoin. A report earlier this year suggested that more than 3.5 million Japanese people have invested in the cryptocurrency to date likely due to the nation has taken a proactive approach toward regulation of virtual currencies rather than the punitive stance of neighbouring China. Today, in Japan, it is possible to use cryptocurrencies for everything from food and drinks to show tickets and even safer and fairer games of online poker.
So, if you’re planning on taking a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, Bitcoin could be a travel currency alternative, especially since there’s no need to inform banks or credit unions of your whereabouts. Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are also decentralized, allowing you to use your digital currency as you see fit. Let’s consider some of the most likely goods and services you could pay for in Japan using Bitcoin.
As of July 2017, there were more than 260,000 stores that accepted Bitcoin as a payment method. If you are flying into Tokyo and looking to explore the capital city, you’ll be pleased to find there are no shortage of ways to spend your Bitcoin. Aside from online platforms such as Shopify and eGifter, the city is experiencing an influx of offline businesses that are happy to accept cryptocurrencies. For instance, Nikugatou became Tokyo’s first Japanese restaurant to accept Bitcoin, offering tourists a chance to sample the yakiniku lean beef dish without having to spend a single yen.
Tokyo is at the core of the Bitcoin boom and it’s unsurprising that a string of specialist Bitcoin-accepting bars have cropped up around the city. The ironically-named Hackers Bar is a vibrant and creative watering hole where businesses and computing experts regularly meet to help develop innovative solutions to business problems. And don’t forget to check out Awabar, situated amid the business district Roppongi. As a standing-only bar, it’s an excellent place to watch the world go by and witness the suited-and-booted professionals from the city’s leading IT conglomerates, Yahoo! and GREE, taking time out from their busy schedules.
Don’t forget, it’s also possible to use your e-wallets to exchange Bitcoin for Japanese yen at various Bitcoin ATMs. CoinATMRadar.com is quite a handy site to keep bookmarked as it lists the nearest Bitcoin ATMs to your current location via GPS. At the end of your Japanese experience, you can also use your Bitcoin to buy a flight home, providing you live in northeastern Asia. The first of its kind, Peace Aviation is a budget Japanese airline that accepts payments for seats in Bitcoins.
Without a doubt, that technology is showing no signs of slowing down. Cryptocurrencies, especially in Japan, are here to stay, and the blockchain technology that underpins their security and transparency will almost certainly be the next innovation to revolutionize the way we do business. One thing is for sure: the Japanese will do their utmost to be at the forefront of the next tech craze.