The Japanese bitcoin market has added a significant number of bitcoin merchants this past year. Local publications such as NHK revealed that there were over 4,200 bitcoin-accepting shops in Japan by the end of 2016, demonstrating roughly an annual growth rate of 4.6x.
Rapid increase in the acceptance of bitcoin by merchants can be directly attributed to the Japanese government’s recognition of bitcoin as money. In May of 2016, the National Diet of Japan passed a bill to regulate digital currency exchanges, declaring bitcoin as a legal form of money.
Establishment of Bitcoin’s Legality
Local lawmakers further emphasized the role of the government in the development of fintech and cryptocurrencies, explaining that the collaboration between Japanese bitcoin exchanges or service providers and the nation’s Financial Services Agency will allow the general population to build trust on bitcoin and consider it as a legal tender.
“[The Japanese government] also said when the legal status of the virtual currencies is established, more firms, including big conservative Japanese firms, will enter the market to energize the industry and facilitate the