Bitcoin and Japan have had an interesting and strained relationship over the last three years. Businesses, exchanges, and digital currency trading have flourished, and even been encouraged to an extent, throughout the technologically cutting-edge country. Now, recent events and international backlash are starting to turn the national tide of perception against Bitcoin exchanges in the Land of the Rising Sun.
A Japanese Bitcoin History Lesson
When I first heard about Mt. Gox, by far the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange throughout 2012 and 2013, I didn’t know where it was. It was located in Japan, and was, in effect, the heart and soul of the Bitcoin community, giving Bitcoin a market pricing model that it needed join the financial world. It handled more than three out of every four Bitcoin transactions at its peak. Bitcoin may or may not have started in Japan, but it worked the most in Japan, even if most of its miners and customers were in The West.
After Mt. Gox’s CEO Mark Karpeles took his eye off the ball, working on a Bitcoin cafe instead of strengthening a crumbling, poorly-sorted computer infrastructure; after people like Roger Ver physically went to the Japan office to