A major factor that has pushed the trading volume of Bitcoin in Japan is the new virtual currency law which will be enforced by this spring, says the Business Development Lead of CoinCheck, the country’s top exchange.
According to Kagayaki (Kaga) Kawabata, the introduction of the proposed law made Bitcoin a darling of top media organizations in the country. He explains:
“After this announcement, various large media that once negated Bitcoin started to feature Bitcoin again this time as an innovative technology (After the Mt. Gox incident, the media broadcasted Bitcoin as a tool for money laundering). Japanese national TV shows and newspapers such as NHK and NIKKEI featured about cryptocurrency expanding awareness of the general public and bringing in various users with diverse backgrounds from college students to elderlies.”
Kawabata, whose CoinCheck’s parent company, ResuPress, also provides Bitcoin payment processing for merchants similar to the service BitPay offers, the announcement could have contributed to a key new trend in Japan which is the changing view that Bitcoin is not just an investment vehicle.
He says: “Many still think of Bitcoin as an investment vehicle. However, the situation is changing where Bitcoin is also starting to be used as a payment method in the past few years,” Kawabata states in an email. “Currently, there’s around 5,270 merchants and websites that accept Bitcoin as payment in Japan (99% of them use Coincheck payment). Regarding payment volume, compared to last year’s January, the monthly volume increased by 8900%. This number could accelerate in the next few years.”
He added that the enforcement of the new law may have positive side effects on Bitcoin as it was once considered a toy for geeks but is now changing dramatically now to be seen as legit currency.
Such a change in perception, he says, has the potential to migrate serious traders to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which will inadvertently surge cryptocurrency trading volume remarkably.
“We believe the hype in Bitcoin price is not just a fluke,” Kawabata says on the general outlook of cryptocurrencies. “Many factors exist that accelerate the trading volume. We believe the cryptocurrencies market will grow dramatically in the next few years. Many large corporations and banks in Japan have started to show interest in cryptocurrency and started to experiment with Blockchain technology. I think remittance will be the first practical usage of cryptocurrency where many corporations/banks will adopt cryptocurrencies.”