A sushi bar in Tokyo’s upscale Ginza district is the first brick-and-mortar business in Japan to accept Bitcoin Cash. Bitsonline visited to find out the why and how… and of course eat a ton of sushi.
Tokyo’s Bitcoin Sushi Venue
Takahiro Gozu is the owner of the restaurant group that runs the Ginza Numazuko sushi restaurant. The place is well-known to Tokyo bitcoiners — it started accepting BTC payments in March 2015, has a bitcoin ATM on the premises, and is a popular place to take cryptocurrency industry visitors.
Gozu said he hadn’t heard much about Bitcoin Cash until recently. He was convinced to use it at the restaurant by Ken Shishido, who began co-organizing the Tokyo Bitcoin Meetup with Roger Ver in 2013.
“I thought, let’s try it because we don’t know the future,” Gozu told Bitsonline. “Nearly three years ago, when we started accepting bitcoin, no-one could imagine (how valuable it would become).”
Numazuko still accepts Bitcoin, of course. It’s seen a steady growth in BTC sales since 2015 — including one month where it took in over ¥620,000 JPY ($5,750 USD). It converts the takings to yen via Coincheck, a popular local exchange and merchant services provider.
Numazuko staff have also taken tips in BTC for the past year — there’s a wall with their names, photos, and wallet QR codes. Over that year they’ve collectively taken 0.423 BTC in tips, which they keep in bitcoin. That’s over $1,800 right now; not bad in a country where tipping generally never happens.
Some staff are now also accepting tips in BCC, in the hope it too will be worth more in the future.
Paying With Bitcoin, Old School
Paying with BCC at Numazuko felt like the good old days of Bitcoin — as in, home-made merchant wallets and payment solutions. Coincheck doesn’t have its Bitcoin Cash processes ready for prime time just yet, so the restaurant has printed its BCC public key on laminated cards, with explanations and instructions.
To make sure the non-technical staff know what’s happening, Numazuko is only accepting BCC payments via the Bitcoin.com mobile wallet (it’s one of only a few available now anyway). Staff have a visual guide to manually check the wallet’s simple interface to make sure everything is legit (i.e.: no-one is trying to swindle them by using a regular Bitcoin wallet).
Sure, it’s a bit clunky, and Gozu admitted it’s more of a novelty for now. He’s even keeping the BCC, and “processing” personally by paying equivalent JPY to the business.
Similarities Are Confusing, Hard to Explain
Other diners present said it was difficult for newcomers to understand how Bitcoin Cash is something different to Bitcoin, yet in many ways the same.
Other than the similar names and logos, there’s also the address format and questions over how to access BCC if they held bitcoins before the 1st August fork. Gozu had more printed material to help explain it all.
We asked Shishido why he’d thrown his support behind BCC after years as a fervent Bitcoin evangelist (for the record, he still is). He said he wanted Bitcoin to again be a network people could use for ordinary payments, without having to pay bank-level transaction fees.
Bitcoin has become stuck, he said, despite a large increase in transaction volumes over the years.
Do you know of any other businesses accepting Bitcoin Cash? Let us know.
Images via Jon Southurst