Two Japanese retail chains have announced they will accept Bitcoin in a leap forward for the cryptocurrency’s biggest trading market.
Bic Camera, the electronics giant, is teaming up with Japan’s largest exchange bitFlyer to trial payments at two of its main stores in central Tokyo.
According to Nikkei Asian Review, payments will be limited to 100,000 yen ($904) per transaction at first.
At the same time, stores using point-of-sale app AirREGI are due to adopt Bitcoin payments through a partnership between owners Recruit Holdings and fellow Bitcoin exchange Coincheck.
A POS system will be available to 260,000 outlets in Japan, with Alipay compatibility bringing additional options for using the cryptocurrency for physical location payments.
While Japan is broadly enthusiastic about Bitcoin’s future in its economy and even surpassed China in February to become the world’s biggest trader, the picture on the ground is somewhat different.
Despite around 4,500 stores officially accepting Bitcoin in Japan, usage remains comparatively scarce on the consumer side, with activity confined to trading and investment online.
The latest agreements, however, will see the number of Bitcoin-friendly merchants explode to almost 265,000.
At the same time, April saw legislation become enshrined in law in Japan, cementing a previously less steady market.