Japanese Can Soon Pay Utility Bills with Bitcoin

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Japanese Bitcoin services firm Coincheck today announced “Coincheck Denki“, a service allowing local users to pay utility bills with bitcoin.

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Furthermore, bitcoin users will actually save money — up to 4%-6% for “heavy users”. Even lighter users can save on their bills, Coincheck said. Users will also collect the amounts they save in bitcoin, stored in a Coincheck wallet.

Earlier, Coincheck’s parent company ResuPress Inc. formed an initial partnership with Mitsuwa industry Co. Ltd. In order to facilitate bitcoin payments, Coincheck will collaborate with Mitsuwa’s subsidiary E-net Systems Co, Ltd.

‘Major milestone for Bitcoin’

Coincheck DenkiCoincheck Business Development Lead Kaga Kawabata said his company has “achieved a major milestone for Bitcoin”. Customers may begin paying in bitcoin from November.

The service is the first of its kind in Japan, where Bitcoin is still a novelty in daily consumer life. While a handful of businesses in Tokyo and Osaka accept bitcoin, most Japanese prefer it as a speculative instrument.

Not only that, but the ability to use bitcoin for daily expenses like utilities is one of digital currency’s holy grails.

Where consumers can pay bills in bitcoin, it’s usually through third-party bill processors such as Living Room of Satoshi. Utilities themselves remain mostly unaware of how their customers are paying.

Coincheck has shown what can be done by joining with the utility company itself. Such an arrangement, however, may be more possible in this part of the world. In Japan, business deals happen via a complex network of alliances and partnerships between large companies and their subsidiaries.

Who Can Pay Utility Bills With Bitcoin?

Coincheck Denki service areaCoincheck Denki (Electricity) E-net Systems has a partnership with Marubeni Power Retail Corporation, which operates power plants in 17 locations in central Japan. The company also has electrical business experience in over 22 other countries.

Coincheck said the service area will expand in future. While initially for electricity bill payments, the service will expand in future to cover gas, water, and even mobile phone bills.

About the Companies

ResuPress Inc. operates both the Coincheck Bitcoin exchange and Coincheck’s merchant payment services, found in several Japanese brick-and-mortar establishments. The company says its exchange business processes more than 100 million JPY ($991,000 USD) in monthly transaction volumes.

Tokyo-based Mitsuwa Industry Co. Ltd is an LPG provider which has operated for 76 years, and has over 200,000 customers. Its retail power platform operates under the E-net Systems subsidiary.

Would you pay utility bills with bitcoin, if you could? Should Bitcoin companies try harder to facilitate everyday payments like this? Let us know.


Images via Shutterstock, Coincheck


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