The Japanese Yen currently constitutes 56.2 percent of BTC or bitcoin, according to the website coinhills.com. The United States dollar closely follows with 28.4 percent, while the rest of the currencies account for 15.4 percent. According to Midori Kanemitsu, the chief financial officer of bitFlyer Inc., (the largest cryptocurrency exchange operator in Japan), the country’s leader is mainly due to the supportive legal system it has put in place which allows investors to build a solid credibility. Kanemitsu explains, “Japan is the first and only country that has a proper legal system regulating cryptocurrency trading.” He added, “Before the law regulating cryptocurrencies, people worried what would happen to their money if an exchange were to go bust.”
bitFlyer’s US subsidiary has been awarded a “BitLicense” by the New York state. “BitLicense” was created to help regulate the exchanges of cryptocurrency. bitFlyer’s US subsidiary is only one of four companies awarded such a license. Co-founder and CEO of bitFlyer, Yuzo Kano, has been persuading lawmakers to make cryptocurrency trading legal. The 2014 bankruptcy that occurred to Mt. Gox pushed the industry to place voluntary restrictions. The non-efficacy of the imposed restrictions prompted lawmakers to start working on making cryptocurrency trading legal. Eventually, it was in May 2016 when a law was enacted while its enforcement was done the following month. Besides the legal safety net available, Japan is similarly adept in foreign exchanges day trading.
Cryptocurrencies are now considered a major financial product that can be used as an alternative to bonds, stocks, and foreign exchanges. As of January 15, bitcoin’s market capitalization was $230 billion – an amount bigger than the largest stock in Japan, Toyota Motor Corp.’s $225.7. All cryptocurrencies’ market capitalization is pegged at $701 billion.
Kanemitsu believes cryptocurrency will change how people live as transactions will no longer require banks. People can also send money to family members overseas just as easily. bitFlyer and other companies such as Coincheck are making an effort to increase the use of cryptocurrency in various transactions. bitFlyer has supported the use of BTC when making purchases from Bic Camera Inc., – the operator of a slew of stores that sell electronics. The company has accepted bitcoin at all its Japan outlets.
NEM Bar in Tokyo allows customers to purchase drinks and cryptocurrency-themed cocktails using bitcoin or XEM (a type of cryptocurrency).
Kanemitsu hopes that more people will invest in cryptocurrency, “Cryptocurrencies are a world-changing technology. While people today may have an image of them being a speculative investment, we hope many people will invest in them under manageable risk.”