Beginning April 2017, Bitcoin gained the legal status of currency in Japan. As the cryptocurrency revolution gathers storm in the country, the Japanese retail outlets are moving fast to capitalize on the technology and economic shift by including Bitcoin as an additional payment option.
According to a report on one of the Japanese business media outlets, two leading retail groups in the country — Bic Camera and Recruit Lifestyle have started exploring Bitcoin payment options. These players have partnered with popular cryptocurrency platforms in the region to enable the digital currency payment option for their customers.
The electronics chain Bic Camera has entered into a partnership with bitFlyer to start conducting trials of the Bitcoin payment option. It is reported that the trial is currently confined to two outlets — the company’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district and a hybrid Bicqlo Bic Camera outlet in Shinjuku.
Similarly, Recruit Lifestyle — the company offering an app-based point of sale solution for businesses in the country has joined forces with Coincheck to include Bitcoin payment option into its AirRegi PoS app. The inclusion of crypto-payments on AirRegi will enable over 260,000 outlets across the country to start accepting Bitcoin payments. Whenever a customer makes a bitcoin payment over AirRegi PoS application, Coincheck will process the payment, and the retailer will receive the settlement in yen.
The proactive approach adopted by Bic Camera and Recruit Lifestyle is making Bitcoin payments at par with other electronic payment options currently available in the country. Earlier, Bitcoin was accepted by over 4500 stores in Japan while over 700,000 outlets actively use other modes of digital payments. But now, the addition of 260,000 merchants accepting Bitcoin through AirRegi makes cryptocurrency payment option almost as prevalent as Suica and Rakuten’s Edy electronic payments which are currently accepted at 380,000 and 470,000 locations respectively.
With the recent developments, Japan is poised as one of the leading cryptocurrency markets. Eventually, one can hope for a similar trend to catch up with other countries, making Bitcoin the leading digital currency in the world.
Ref: Nikkei Asian Review | Image: NewsBTC