Bitcoin exchange and services firm Coincheck will soon enable Japanese citizens to pay utility bills with bitcoin. Bills will be cheaper, compared to payments made through traditional means.
Come November 2016, users in Japan will be able to pay their electricity bills with bitcoin.
The feature, called Coincheck Denki (Electricity), stems from a broad new partnership between ResuPress Inc., parent company of bitcoin exchange and services provider Coincheck & Mitsuwa Industry Co. Ltd., a prominent energy provider in Japan with a presence of 76 years in the country.
Coincheck will begin its collaboration with E-net Systems Co, Ltd., a subsidiary of Mitsuwa Industry in order to provide bitcoin payments for users looking to settle their electricity bills with the cryptocurrency.
Incentivizing Bitcoin Payments
The exchange and services firm is incentivizing everyday users to choose bitcoin as the payment method with two plans, for the light and the heavy user respectively.
The heavy tariff plan will see users saving up to 4%-6% of their electricity bill with the cryptocurrency as the chosen payment method. While light users will see the same tariff as they would with traditional payment methods, and amount saved on the bill will be credit back in bitcoin, stored in a Coincheck wallet.
The larger partnership between Coincheck and Mitsuwa industry will also mean that users will soon be able to pay for other utilities, including gas and water. Users subscribing to the ‘light tariff’ plan are likely to find this appealing since they will be able to use the BTC stored in their Coincheck wallets for additional utilities.
Electricity payments via Coincheck will be enabled in November, with other utilities following shortly, the firm revealed.
The Coincheck/E-net Systems collaboration will form a direct partnership with the Marubeni Power Retail Corporation in Japan, to bring power to Kanto, Kansai and Chubu, all three of which are areas in central Japan.
The service area for bitcoin-enabled electricity tariffs is expected to expand, Coincheck adds. The claim holds promise to be sure, as the Marubeni Power Retail Corp has power plants in 17 locations in Japan, with a presence in 22 countries.
The Japanese cryptocurrency industry saw a milestone development earlier this year. The Japanese legislature passed a bill in May, mandating digital currencies and exchanges to be regulated in the country. The move was welcomed by many in the industry in the years following the infamy of the now-defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.
Today's announcement comes within a fortnight after a similar endeavor by a German utility giant that began accepting the cryptocurrency for payments from users in the country.
Images from iStock and Coincheck.