Japan Still Asian Crypto Leader Despite Poor Market Performance and Hacks

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:30
Alex Dovbnya
Japan continues to be a leader in the East with regards to Bitcoin despite a number of setbacks
Cover image via U.Today

Despite a growing number of factors that would count against Bitcoin in other regions, Japan’s interest seems undetermined even in the wake of a second major Bitcoin exchange hack, this time Coincheck.

Japan has worked its way to be a leader in the Asian markets when it comes to cryptocurrencies, for a number of reasons including the crackdown in other neighboring nations. Even since taking over, Japan’s interest in Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, in general, has grown steadily despite fluctuations.

Still going strong

Despite the stereotypical notion of Japanese conservatism, there has been a welcoming approach to Bitcoin and other digital currencies in the country. It was famously considered legal currency by Japan in 2017 as regulators allowed it to flourish.

Because of this open approach, it has been estimated that Japan is benefitting from a growing Blockchain economy.

“There are estimates that tax revenue from the cryptocurrency business, including capital gains taxes from individual investors and corporations, could amount to one tln yen ($9.2 bln), though that is very speculative at this stage,” said Takashi Shiono, an economist at Credit Suisse in Tokyo.

But it has also been predicted that the regulators in Japan are merely adopting a ‘watch and wait’ approach especially in light of this latest hack at Coincheck.

“Regulators in Japan are usually conservative and not first movers,” said Ken Kawai, partner at law firm Anderson Mori & Tomotsune and adviser to finance-tech startups. “The government wants to facilitate fintech through cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology.”

Individual interest

The news of hacks from Coincheck, and even the aftermath of the most famous hack that of Mt. Gox has done little to dampen the spirit of Japanese investors. Coincheck was accused of neglecting basic safety procedures when $400 mln in NEM was whisked away from hot wallets.

And still, interest is growing for both individuals and companies as adoption continues to flourish.

Around 10,000 companies in Japan now accept payment in Bitcoin, including its largest budget airline and two of its biggest electronics retailers.

As Bitcoin continues to lag from its December highs, the interest in the technology and the potential grows while the worries about the price difference wains.

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