Yamada Denki, one of the largest consumer electronics retailer chains in Japan with hundreds of stores and some $10 billion in revenue, said they are to start accepting bitcoin payments.
In collaboration with bitFlyer, Japan’s biggest crypto exchange, they are to initially accept bitcoin payments in two of their stores (pictured) in Shinjuku, a neighborhood within Tokyo popular with westerners.
The company said they are “working to improve the awareness of bitcoin and promote its use,” before further adding:
“We believe that by introducing the Bitcoin payment services, we will be able to respond to the diverse needs of our customers both in Japan and overseas, and to provide increased services and improved convenience.”
The opening on the 27th of January had bitcoin specific promotions whereby some customers had a two for one deal, while bitFlyer set up an account opening support section in the stores.
“We will give you 500 yen worth of bit coin for 1,000 first-come-first-served customers (500 stores for each shop) who came over there,” bitFlyer said according to a rough translation.
Yamada plans to extend the facility nationwide, at which point it would probably be the first and biggest high street department store to accept bitcoin payments.
That might suggest crypto commerce could be on the verge of going mainstream in Japan, while more globally Starbucks has indicated an interest in accepting crypto payments and in South Korea their online shopping giant is to begin accepting 12 cryptocurrencies.
The regulatory environment in Japan has been very friendly to this space, with their authorities licensing some 12 exchanges, while their parliament has declared digital currencies as legal tender, meaning they have to be accepted for debt payments.
Hiromi Yamaoka, head of Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) payment and settlement system division, recently said he wasn’t concerned about bitcoin’s growing use, and that any G20 coordination on crypto regulations would be very difficult.
This friendly approach has seemingly given merchants the green light to start accepting bitcoin payments, with Yamada being the biggest in the country, and probably the biggest high street department store in the world, to start accepting bitcoin payments.