Bitcoin operators are keenly watching the Diet as it deliberates bills to regulate the currency, believing the legislation is key to regaining the public trust’s in the virtual tender and luring more players to the industry.
The bitcoin phenomenon fell under a cloud following the 2014 bankruptcy of Mt. Gox, a bitcoin exchange that claimed $390 million worth of the virtual currency disappeared from its computer system. Users lost their bitcoins and the firm’s CEO, Mark Karpeles, was arrested last year for allegedly falsifying data.
Learning from the bitter experience, the government is set to place bitcoin operators under its supervision. At the same time, it will recognize the digital currency as similar to money, setting a legal definition for the first time once the bills pass the Diet and take effect.
The bills passed the Lower House last month and are currently under deliberation in the Upper House.
As fintech, a term coined by combining “finance” and “technology,” flourished worldwide, Japan wanted to keep up with the trend by creating legislation to cover bitcoins.
“This is epoch-making,” said Mike Kayamori, CEO of Quoine, a Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange, adding that Japan was at the forefront globally