Japan seems to have Bitcoin fever these days. Trading volume is growing exponentially in the region and organizations across the land are investing in this new technology. Now the Japanese blockchain firm TechBureau, who maintains one of Japan’s largest Bitcoin exchanges, Zaif, has just raised ¥720m or $6.5 million USD. As well as this significant investment announcement in the Japanese blockchain industry there is active fintech news coming from the region nearly every day.
“Not only are we seeing a massive growth of Bitcoin adoption and media coverage here but also Japan has turned into a very interesting place for Bitcoin 2.0 experiments and the token economy.” ~ Koji Higashi, Counterparty Foundation
Japan has two blockchain associations
With blockchain fever in Japan, the country’s fintech leaders, executives and intellectuals are forming associations. One such group is theBlockchain Collaborative Consortium (BCC) which consists of 34 companies working together to establish industry standards.
This April, the former Japan Association of Digital Asset (JADA) changed its focus to distributed ledger technologies. With this new agenda, the group has rebranded into the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA). The organization is also made up of industry innovators and leaders from a broad range of Japanese businesses.
Bitcoin set to exploade in Japan
A recent Medium blog post by Counterparty’s Koji Higashi he explains that Bitcoin is about to explode in Japan. Higashi states, “not only are we seeing a massive growth of Bitcoin adoption and media coverage here but also Japan has turned into a very interesting place for Bitcoin 2.0 experiments and the token economy.”
Then, on the weekend of May 7-8, it was reported that Japan had the world’s second-highest volume of BTC trades. A picture of this evidence was uploaded to Imgur that weekend and LocalBitcoins has seen many spikes in transactions as well over the course of 2016. Another interesting side note is according to Coin ATM Radar the country also has the most active Bitcoin ATM’s in Asia totalling 13 in the region. The wallet startup IndieSquare has also seen a significant amount of popularity in the area with over 50% of users being Japanese.
Japanese government to define and regulate bitcoins
Throughout March and April, the Japanese government has been working on a regulatory framework for Bitcoin and other digital currencies. Three days ago, theJapan Times reported that cryptocurrency operators in the industry were waiting for the legitimacy of the new policies. The new regulations will be similar to the western hemisphere’s version of KYC/AML standards, and exchanges will have to follow the laws accordingly.
Yuzo Kano, CEO of Tokyo-based startup bitFlyer is hopeful the regulations will bring a broader sense of trust to the cryptocurrency industry. Kano tells the Japan Times:
“It will help improve the trust in the virtual currency. I am hoping the new rules will stimulate the growth of the industry,” ~ Yuzo Kano, bitFlyer
Bitcoin is shining in the land of shining sun
The exponential growth of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology solutions in Japan is hard not to notice these days. In fact, at the rate it’s going it may be a country that competes with the Bitcoin behemoth China, who has quite the establishment of miners and exchanges within the region. Adoption and usage of the cryptocurrency currently dominate in the U.S., China, and quite a bit of the European Union. However, Japan is now showing thay it wants to be in the thick of things when it comes to Bitcoinland.