From less than a thousand, the number of merchants accepting Bitcoin in Japan has grown by more than four times in the last twelve months, according to a new survey by ResuPress Inc, the company that runs Coincheck, one of the major Bitcoin exchanges in the country.
Aside from the Bitcoin exchange, ResuPress also provides Bitcoin payment processing for merchants very similar to the service BitPay offers.
4,200 Japanese shops accept Bitcoin
According to NHK, the survey shows that the number of stores that accept the digital currency especially on the Internet in the Japanese market increased to about 4,200 shops as of December 26.
Estimated to be about 4.6 times higher than the result of a similar survey a year ago, the new finding suggests that there were probably about 900 of such merchants a year ago.
It also hints that Bitcoin’s use has spread to various industries. Some examples include the fashion industry in areas such as beauty and nail salons, remodeling companies, as well as eating and drinking establishments.
Bitcoin - not just magic Internet money
For Bitsquare’s Ken Shishido, the development is nothing but good news for the Bitcoin ecosystem. In an email to Cointelegraph, he states:
“I think more physical shops and e-commerce sites in Japan accepting Bitcoin is nothing but good news for the Bitcoin industry and people in Japan. It shows that Bitcoin is not just magic Internet money as you hear in the news but it can actually be used to buy goods and services in the shops near you. It gives an alternative choice to the government paper money you are familiar with.”
Japan has had a head start with Bitcoin as one of the few countries to embrace it. The industry was later spoiled by the unfortunate collapse of the Mt. Gox exchange in which over $300 mln was reportedly lost. The country has since tried to pick up on its track.
The coin that changes the world
The introduction of regulatory measures seems to have been instrumental in the recovery process from the Mt. Gox scandal. Last year in May, Japan passed a bill that mandated the regulation of Bitcoin and virtual currency exchanges by the Financial Services Agency (FSA).
One of the big players in Japan’s Bitcoin world is BitFlyer which recently put out four ads that have each generated more than a million views. In one of the ads, Bitcoin is described as “The coin that changes the world.”
A key issue that is foreseen to draw merchants’ adoption back is the sorting out of how to scale Bitcoin.