Embracing Bitcoin is all anyone has been talking about over the past couple of years. It has rocked the boat and completely shaken things up in the world of tech and money. It has been met with a mixture of intrigue, delight and scepticism from people all around the world, and since it is so new, do we even know the full extent of what it is capable of?
There is one country that have given Bitcoin a very warm welcome, and that is Japan. Japan has long been hailed as the king of tech, with innovations and ground-breaking technologies emerging from the country every year for decades. So, of course, it makes sense that they would take on the Bitcoin, too. But how exactly is it doing this, and what is the future of Bitcoin in Japan? Let’s dive right in to find out.
An Introduction to Embracing Bitcoin
One of the most asked questions about Bitcoin is: what is it? Well, to put it simply, Bitcoin is a form of currency that only exists online (otherwise known as a cryptocurrency), which can be used to buy goods and services in the same way that regular currencies do.
There are a lot of benefits to using Bitcoin that other forms of currency do not have. Transaction fees are very low or even non-existent, so you can save more money by using Bitcoin. It exists on a blockchain and isn’t owned by anyone or any bank, so payments cannot be blocked or frozen, and since no personal details are needed to own Bitcoin, there is very little chance your money will be stolen or hacked.
Since it is still so new and mysterious, there are still some people who remain sceptical of Bitcoin; however, there are more and more organisations and countries that are opening up to it. Ten years ago, it would be difficult to find many places who accepted Bitcoin as a form of payment, but now you can buy anything from a cup of coffee to an intergalactic space flight with it. Bitcoin is very much like a currency you would imagine in the Marvel or Star Wars Universe. You can imagine Han Solo or even a Japanese Manga character using Bitcoin to pay for things. Ant Man would probably find interesting ways to use it.
In the real world people are using Bitcoin to pay for games and movies and music and everything in between. If anything in the pop culture world of Avengers, Star Wars, Transformers etc that we live in Bitcoin should be right at home. V-Buvks from Fortnite its not but to my kids its the same thing i.e. Virtual Currency!
Japan and Bitcoin
While a few countries have had a negative reaction to the rise of Bitcoin, Japan has been Embracing Bitcoin into its economy and become one of the top supporters of the cryptocurrency. Just last year Japan saw over 260,000 stores across the country begin to accept Bitcoin payments, making it one of the most Bitcoin-friendly countries in the world. From Bitcoin-only casinos such as Bitcasino to gourmet sushi restaurants, there seems to be no industry in Japan which isn’t embracing the Bitcoin.
In fact, Japan has gone so crazy for Embracing Bitcoin, there is even a cryptocurrency themed J-Pop group! The band are called Virtual Currency Girls, and is made up of members aged between 15 and 22 years old. Each of the girls represents a different form of cryptocurrency and tickets for their shows can only be paid in Bitcoin. It may seem silly, but their songs are highly informative about cryptocurrencies and their goal is to spread the message that Bitcoin and the like are the way of the future. Yes in Japan anything is possible even Virtual Currency girls!
Japan may, in fact, be the home of Bitcoin; the mysterious creation of the cryptocurrency is said to have been created by Satoshi Nakamoto, which is certainly a Japanese name, but his identity still remains unknown.
Another link Japan has to Bitcoin is the infamous Mt Gox, the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, which is headquartered in Tokyo. Four years ago, it fell victim to a Bitcoin heist which led to 750,000 of its users’ Bitcoins being stolen in the biggest Bitcoin disaster in history.
The event left many feeling wary of Bitcoin; however, the event has led to the Japanese government implementing regulations and security measures for Bitcoin to make it a more secure form of currency.
Legislation was passed following a long period of debate which will recognise Bitcoin as a legal payment method, making Japan the first major economy to do so, as well as bringing Bitcoin exchanges such as Mt Gox under anti-money laundering law. This move has shifted attitudes towards Bitcoin tremendously in Japan, and now more people than ever are getting involved with it.
The Future of Bitcoin in Japan and Around the World
So, now that Bitcoin has become so huge in Japan, what does the future hold for it? Well, since there is now regulatory framework in place to make Bitcoin more secure and protect the wallets of Bitcoin users, there is a lot more scope for what can be done with it. With more and more stores, restaurants, bars, retailers etc now accepting Bitcoin payments, not only does it increase sales opportunities, but it is great news for travellers coming to Japan. Since Bitcoin is a global currency, there are no exchange rates, so spending with Bitcoin instead of Yen will mean travellers can save money.
For the first time ever, Japanese company GMO are giving their employees the option of being paid their salary in Bitcoin, and giving an incentive to those who opt in of 10% of the selected Bitcoin amount. This move could pave the way for other businesses to do the same, which can be beneficial to both as employers will have less paperwork to complete when paying with Bitcoin, and employees can get a little extra money for it.
We often look to Japan as the world leader in all things tech, and their wide acceptance of Bitcoin shows us that it isn’t just a fad. In a few years, more and more countries will start to open up to Bitcoin as well. Since Bitcoin is seen as a global currency, the next few decades may see it replace other world currencies and we may all be using Bitcoin instead. If more countries begin to follow Japan’s footsteps and implement similar laws, legislations and regulations to Embracing Bitcoin and Bitcoin exchanges, it will be likely that more people will feel more confident with using it and make it much easier to implement it as a legitimate form of currency.
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