Bitcoin zealots are super-excited that 260,000 Japanese retail stores will start accepting the virtual currency as payment soon.
Boom times for Bitcoin, finally? Maybe, but then again:
- OverStock.com started accepting Bitcoin as payment in late September 2014
- OverStock.com gets about 30 million monthly visits.
- Bitcoin transaction rates have barely grown since 2014 and peaked in 2016.
So yeah, no:
Maybe there's something incredibly special about the Japanese market that will make Bitcoin become an attractive retail currency, but I'm guessing not. In fact, there is something unique about Japan in this context: Electronic payment transactions are much less popular there than the rest of Asia:
For all its tech savvy, Japan still prefers cash to cashless payments. And, it is not for the lack of options. Mobile wallets debuted as early as 2004, while Apple Pay and Android Pay services are both available. More prevalent is the mobile tap-to-pay technology developed by Sony, known as FeliCa, embedded in the Suica and Pasmo rail passes that are similar to ez-link in Singapore. They are stored-value cards that can also be used in taxis and convenience stores. But, latest available data from the Japan Consumer Credit Association shows that cashless payments only accounted for 17 per cent of the country's overall retail consumption in 2014. This is lower than South Korea's 85 per cent, Singapore's 56 per cent and India's 35 per cent.
So again, yeah, no.