Japanese startup Tech Bureau Inc. launches a new cryptocurrency exchange, dubbed Zaif exchange, supporting Bitcoin as well as the "Japanese Dogecoin," Monacoin, in a bid to become "the hub that connects Japan to the global cryptocurrency market."
Backed by US$835,000 in funding from Nippon Technology Venture Partners, a Japanese venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage investing for startups, Tech Bureau Inc. acquired local digital currency exchange Etwings, and relaunched the service yesterday, after making significant improvements in its platform, including the addition of multi-signature features and cold storage.
Mt. Gox's collapse over a year ago had left nothing but a negative image of cryptocurrencies in people's mind, leading Japan to experience a rather slow pace of adoption.
According to Tech Bureau Inc. CEO Takao Asayama:
"In Japan, no one talks about Bitcoin 2.0, and people have little interest in owning bitcoins themselves. Unfortunately, the first newsworthy event related to Bitcoin in Japan was the collapse of Mt. Gox, which has fueled a lot of negative coverage in the media."
Asayama said he is determined to change this trend and is looking to accelerate Bitcoin adoption in the country "by providing the most user-friendly cryptocurrency exchange on the market."
"We are creating an environment that encourages Japanese people to increasingly rely on crypto currencies in the future."
Although Japan has several bitcoin payment processors, there are currently less than 100 retailers that accept bitcoin in the country. "There are no incentives for retailers to accept bitcoins," he noted. "Before we get more retailers on board, we first need to increase the number of Japanese people who are willing to own and use Bitcoin."
Tech Bureau Inc. further stated it was looking to leverage "any boom in local cryptocurrencies" and in the altcoin sphere, as it believes it will "steer Japan toward more widespread acceptance of Bitcoin."
As of today, the company has got its hands on the cat meme-based cryptocurrency Monacoin that Japan had fallen in love with, and is determined to surf on the trend.
"Monacoin's recent trading activity shows promising signs for crypto currencies in Japan," the company stated, and according to Asayama, it's reminiscent of what happened with Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012.
Introduced in the summer 2014, Monacoin is currently ranked at the 14th place with a market capitalization of US$3.8m, or 1/3 of Dogecoin's market cap. According to Coinmarketcap, it is estimated that 90% of its user base is based in Japan, with a few businesses already accepting the cryptocurrency as a payment method.
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