Bitcoin Cash Is Big in Japan. Anyone Surprised?
There are now at least seven brick and mortar businesses in Tokyo accepting Bitcoin Cash. Curiosity for the “daily spending” alternative to Bitcoin is growing among merchants, thanks to the efforts of a small group of local evangelists. But is Japan’s mainstream consumer industry ready for another Bitcoin yet?
Like it or hate it, Bitcoin Cash has undergone a price surge in the past month so large that it’s attracting attention from outside cryptocurrency circles. It went from $313 USD on 12th October 2017 to $2,422 exactly a month later, before sliding back to $1,746 at press time.
As of today, the Tokyo businesses accepting BCH include a wine bar, a whisky lounge, a craft beer and pizza restaurant, an Italian restaurant — plus a hair salon and jewelry boutique. The first business to accept BCH was Ginza Numazuko sushi bar, where Bitsonline went to eat in September.
It’s not accidental that interest grew so suddenly — a group of three local BCH proponents has been touring the city to promote the new currency.
Group Is Spreading the Word, in Person
Tokyo Bitcoin Meetup co-founder Ken Shishido, Money Partners‘ new business development manager Yokiko Nishimura, and Bitcoin.com’s Jake Smith visited the locations in person to demonstrate Bitcoin Cash to the proprietors. Some of them were completely new converts to digital currency, who didn’t even accept Bitcoin.
Shishido said it was necessary to talk face-to-face with operators and actually give live demonstrations.
“We deal with the owners of the business. They don’t necessarily understand the complex background of the three-year blocksize war, but they immediately get the benefit of lower transaction fees.”
As yet, none of the popular Japanese merchant payment processors — like Coincheck and bitFlyer — are offering Bitcoin Cash service. So owners and staff must accept BCH directly into their personal wallets. It’s much like the very early days of Bitcoin.
As such, getting new businesses to accept Bitcoin Cash could be risky. There’s still a lot of confusion and misinformation among the general public, and it’s still way too easy to send BCH to a BTC address by mistake. Ordinary merchants may not be ready to deal with these situations.
Ginza Numazuko sushi printed out a card to caution users — so accepting BCH might involve some hand-holding until it’s better understood. Actual customers paying BCH will likely be low for now, and (like early BTC) will probably get traffic mainly from enthusiasts at first.
Japan Dives Into New Tech… Again
When Japan decides it likes a new technology, things tend to happen fast. It happened with Facebook, then iPhones — the country was initially slow to adopt the “foreign” innovations, preferring local alternatives — but now they’re everywhere.
It was the same with Bitcoin. Japanese knew of it, but it was hard to understand, and local media reports were all about Mt. Gox and Silk Road. There was some curiosity over the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” but it remained too esoteric for the average consumer. Now, there are bitFlyer commercials on TV.
Bitcoiners knew that if Japan ever got curious about cryptocurrency, it would become a craze — and indeed it did. Japan has now embraced Bitcoin, Ethereum, local altcoin Monacoin — and curiously, Ripple XRP. But will it also be more willing to experiment with Bitcoin Cash?
Is Bitcoin Cash usurping Bitcoin’s community too, or is it just a fad? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via Jon Southurst, Valerian Bennett, Tokyo Bitcoin Meetup
The ‘Bitcoin Cash’ section at Bitsonline is sponsored by Bitcoin Cash. In hopes of bringing cryptocurrency to the masses, Bitcoin Cash has set out to provide a digital currency with on-chain scalability, so everyone can use the blockchain affordably. Learn more at BitcoinCash.org and join the official Telegram Group.