On January 26, 2018, Yamada Denki, one of the biggest consumer electronics chains in Japan, announced that it is going to start accepting bitcoin payments at two of its largest stores in Tokyo. A press release explains this new option is currently a trial but is expected to expand nationwide in the future. Yamada Denki is offering this “bitcoin settlement service” in cooperation with bitFlyer, which is Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange, based on trading volume.
Yamada Denki Supports Bitcoin Implementation and Recognition
The electronics company announced:
“We will implement initiatives to improve bitcoin recognition and usage promotion. With the introduction of bitcoin payment service, we respond to the diverse needs of our customers both in Japan and overseas. We believe that we can provide improved service and convenience.”
BitFlyer, Yamada Denki’s partner in this endeavor, launched in the U.S. in 2017. It received a license to operate in the European Union (EU) in early 2018 and is now “the first bitcoin exchange to be regulated in Japan, the U.S., and Europe, making it the most compliant virtual currency exchange in the world,” according to a company statement.
The two Yamada Denki stores that are running the digital currency trial, which began January 27, 2018, are Yamada Denki Labi Shinjuku and Concept Labi Tokyo. The company explains “many foreign visitors” visit these branches.
Over the opening weekend, Yamada Denki and bitFlyer ran a “commemorative event and campaign implementation,” including prizes, special prices and an offering of 500 yen (about $4.60) to the first 500 customers paying in virtual currency with a bitFlyer wallet at either store. Cryptocurrency payments will be capped at the equivalent of 300,000 yen (about $2,750). As of January 29, 2018, this amounts to about 0.247 BTC.
Yamada Denki reports that it operates more than 950 stores directly and also has many subsidiary brands, including Yamada Mobile, Labi stores, and Tecc Land stores. YABAI, a Japanese news and culture publication, describes it as the biggest electronics store in the country and sells a diverse range of goods including cell phones, computers, tablets, cameras, air conditioners, kitchen appliances, massage chairs and home remodeling products.
Japans Bitcoin Market Excels, More Stores Accept Crypto
As China grows its collection of bans and regulations on digital currency, the industry blossoms in Japan – it is currently the largest bitcoin exchange market. Japan recognized Bitcoin as an official payment method in 2017.
As previously reported by BTCManager, more than 4,500 stores have since begun to accept this type of payment. For example, in April 2017, the electronics retail chain Bic Camera started to take bitcoin on a two-store trial basis in Tokyo, then decided in the summer of 2017 to incorporate all of its stores. In August, Marui department stores based out of Tokyo also began to accept bitcoin at several locations, with a purchase cap of 100,000 yen (about $915).