Month: February 2018

Cryptocurrency in Japan

Cryptocurrency in Japan

Advancements in technology are rarely welcome in the beginning. Just like not many believe in internet thirty years ago, today 40% of the world is connected to world wide web.  Those who foresee the future, never resist the positive change.

As the majority of governments in the world are showing zero tolerance towards cryptocurrency, the world’s third-largest economy is embracing the cryptocurrency movement with open arms.

Although there is no clear evidence but it is assumed by the majority that the 8th wonder of the world, the bitcoin was developed by a Japanese programmer Satoshi Nakamoto.

Japan history with cryptocurrency is not new. In Feb 2014, the first major bitcoin exchange based in Tokyo, Japan Mt. Gox exchange collapsed into bankruptcy after losing  $460 million to hackers, and another $27.4 million missing from its bank accounts. It was second time the exchange (Mt. Gox) got hacked. In June 2011, attackers lifted the equivalent of $8.75 million from Mt. Gox. Mt. Gox and raised 70% of the global turnover of Bitcoin trading.

learning from the past, Japanese regulators are coming with strict rules for crypto Exchanges. crypto Exchanges are now required to maintain minimum capital reserves, separate customers accounts. establishing anti money laundering system, KYC (know your client)practices and cybersecurity.

Financial Services Agency (FSA) approved 11 cryptocurrency exchanges to operate officially in the country in Sep 2017 and allowed 17 cryptocurrencies to be traded on these exchanges including Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple, Litecoin, and Monacoin.

But that was not all. In Dec 2017, the FSA approved 4 more cryptocurrency exchanges. The four newly licensed exchanges are Bit Arg Exchange Tokyo Co.Ltd, FTT Corporation, Tokyo Bitcoin Exchange Co and Xtheta Corporation.

Cryptocurrency is considered globally as mode of investment but it Japan its viewed as medium of exchange in daily life.

GMO Internet in Japan has given an option to 4,000 of its employees that they can receive up to 100,000 yen ( $890 ) monthly in the form of  Bitcoin. There are 260,000 stores in Japan that are accepting bitcoin as mode of payment

40% of cryptocurrency trading (though some sources says its 60%) in Oct and Nov last year was Yen dominated and is likely to rise following strict cryptocurrency laws recently introduced in  China and South Korea.

There is much more to say about cryptocurrency in Japan. A great source to see official statements of the Japanese government on cryptocurrency is Bitlegal.

There is a consent that land of rising sun is the new cryptocurrency capital of the world.

South Korea & China

While Japan is busy opening all his gates for the cryptocurrency, news for cryptocurrency coming from China and South Korea are totally negative.

China was the most attractive venue for bitcoin until early last year. China bans all sort of ICO’s in the first week of Sep 2017, followed by a ban on crypto exchanges and now the government plans to block domestic access to homegrown and offshore platforms that enable centralized trading of cryptocurrency.

South Korean government behavior towards cryptocurrency is no different than Chinese government. In Sep 2017, south korea bans all sort of fund raisings via ICO’s. Cryptocurrency market received a major blow in start of 2018 when south Korea government officials say they are planning to ban the crypto exchanges operating in the country.

Japan weight in cryptocurrency is also growing as China and South Korea are cracking hard on cryptocurrency.


As per investopedia ranking, the only country ahead of Japan in cryptocurrency friendly regulations is switzerland. Recently Bitmain technologies a Chinese bitcoin mining giant announced to expand its operations to Switzerland.

Zurich’s ICF Church an evangelical church in Zurich will begin accepting offerings in the bitcoin cryptocurrency. In 2016, the Swiss city Zug piloted a project so people could use bitcoin to pay for government services.


Views of officials of world’s largest country by population are also negative on cryptocurrency. India central bank is opposed to cryptocurrency, claiming it as a source for money laundry and financing terrorists. Currently, its use is against foreign-exchange rules. However, use of regulated digital currency is undertaken.

But these regulations are not stopping the individuals from taking interest in cryptocurrency. Google trends have shown that people are searching more for bitcoin than gold in India these days.

 by Sumiko Shibata

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