In a significant move for Japanese cryptocurrency patriotism, exchange bitFlyer has added Monacoin (MONA) trading to its platform. The homegrown altcoin has a low-key but devoted following in Japan’s mining and online gaming community.
Also read: The Crypto Bar: What Is Bitcoin Cash?
BitFlyer sent out an email notification about the Monacoin addition to users on Wednesday morning Japan time. It will allow direct trading between JPY and MONA, without having to trade via BTC. The platform also has trading in BTC and BCC, ETH and ETC, and LTC.
BitFlyer is one of the oldest and most popular digital asset exchanges still operating in Japan. It’s arguably also the most prominent public face of Bitcoin in Japan, thanks to a long-running TV ad and poster campaign. At the beginning of October it became the third exchange to obtain an operating license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
Japanese exchange Zaif also trades MONA, though curiously altcoin-friendly Coincheck doesn’t.
Monacoin Still Big in Japan
But what is Monacoin? It first launched at the end of 2013, and picked up a lot of buzz with its cat emoji logo and online following on Japanese message boards like 2channel.
Local media picked up the “like Bitcoin, but made in Japan” narrative in 2014, and it became part of the country’s post-Gox crypto mystique. At one point, TV news even reported a real estate deal paid in MONA.
Like most altcoins, mainstream interest waned after that, but MONA experienced a new price boom in 2017. It’s currently worth about $0.80 USD, and there are several online marketplaces and gaming sites that accept it as payment for all manner of products, like the Monacoin cookie pictured above.
Monacoin’s other claim to fame is as the first cryptocurrency to activate SegWit — in April 2017, just ahead of Litecoin.
The following video explains the appeal and size of its community pretty well:
Will Monacoin ever be big outside Japan? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Monacoin.org, tyapa_mona