The online payment system was launched on September 16th, 2014. Bitcheck believes that everyone should be able to trade in Bitcoin, and therefore the company has adopted the slogan “Bitcoin for Everyone”. Their goal is to spread the greatness of Bitcoin in Japan, and the company’s CEO, Hiroki Minematsu, often appears in the Japanese media to educate the public on the use of Bitcoin in their daily lives.
Bitcheck has a variety of services that will make the use of Bitcoin much more convenient for the average shopper in Japan. These include a wallet, a register when paying at a local restaurant, and the online payment system that has just been launched. The company hopes that given the popularity of online shopping in Japan, the uptake of their products and services will likewise be good going into the 2014 holiday season. The company charges commission fees that are as little as 1%.
Japan can be described as a “bit-friendly” country. In mid-2014, the country’s premier, Shinzo Abe, stopped short of calling for the regulation of Bitcoin. There had been calls to regulate Bitcoin since the collapse of MtGox in February 2014. MtGox’s collapse occasioned the loss of 850,000 bitcoins valued at about half a billion dollars at the time. The loss led to more calls from the public for regulation.
So far the government of Japan has adopted a hands-off approach to Bitcoin regulation, viewing it as “a sprout” that needed time to grow. In Japan the Financial Services Agency is the body charged with oversight of the financial system including the banking, insurance, securities and exchange industries.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr Abe had set up a panel to craft a government response to Bitcoin. The panel recommended nurturing the use of Bitcoin in Japan for the time being but did not rule out future legislation. The panel however shifted the burden to bitcoin users themselves calling on them to “take full responsibility for their usage of the digital currency.”
The panel also decided to await the setup of an industry group for the Bitcoin community in Japan which group would then consult with various government ministries and agencies. The group would also be expected to institute self-governance mechanisms that would oversee the activities of bitcoin exchanges in the country, identity-verification of customers, and curbs against criminal activity.