Things have changed a lot in the cryptocurrency world since 2016. Just one year ago, China accounted for more than 90% of the global Bitcoin trade. However, the communist government has since banned initial coin offerings (ICO’s) and regulators have shut down Bitcoin exchanges across the nation. Meanwhile, just across the East China Sea, capitalist Japan is embracing the crypto movement with gusto.
As we are approaching the business end of 2017, Japan now accounts for over half of the global trade volume of Bitcoin, as compared to roughly 25% in the US. That is quite an impressive feat, especially when you take into consideration that Japan has far less than half the population of the United States.
The number of crypto enthusiasts in the land of the rising sun has surged since the beginning of this year, after the Japanese government passed a new law which recognized the digital currency as a legal form of payment. Of course, that is not to say that the country has gone absolutely crypto crazy. Even the most ardent of local enthusiasts such as ‘Miss Bitcoin‘ (Mai Fujimoto) has gone on record to claim that she still uses paper yen to pay for 90% of her transactions.
Like in many other parts of the world, Bitcoin is largely still considered to be an investment in Japan. As the digital currency continues it’s moonshot rise in value, locals may consider it foolish to even purchase a simple bento box with bitcoin instead of yen. Nonetheless, from hackers to housewives, adoption will steadily increase in this country over time.
Unfortunately, the rise of Bitcoin in Japan has not entirely been without problems. In 2014 the first major Bitcoin exchange known as Mt.Gox collapsed and declared bankruptcy after hackers raided its accounts. Learning from past mistakes, regulators have now responded with more strict rules, such as requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to maintain minimal capital reserves and to establish AML (anti money laundering) measures.
In the long run, what has become China’s loss could very well become Japan’s gain. While the communist Chinese government continues to keep a tight grip on it’s citizens economic and personal liberties, bitcoin trade in Japan may soon find itself running riot with a new class of prosperous cryptocurrency millionaires.
This article was originally published at CryptoGeography. Permission to reprint this article elsewhere is granted, provided that all text and hyperlinks (including this footnote) remains intact.