Japan’s Bitcoin Entrepreneurs Await New Digital Currency Laws

The National Diet, Japan’s legislature, is examining several digital currency bills that have the potential to lend a great deal of legitimacy to the virtual currency industry in the country.

In the aftermath of the Mt.Gox collapse in 2014, Japanese lawmakers decided to draft laws that would bring bitcoin exchanges under the supervision of financial regulators, in addition to recognizing digital currencies as legal tender.

While these legislative proposals passed a vote in the House of Representatives (Lower House) last month, the bills have to now pass a vote by the House of Councillors (Upper house).

The bills would require all virtual currency exchange within Japan to comply with all relevant money laundering laws, with the Financial Services Agency acting as chief enforcer.

According to a JapanTimes report, virtual currency exchange operators are eagerly awaiting the results of the House of Councillors vote. Yuzo Kano, CEO of Japanese digital currency exchange bitFlyer – which raised $27 million in Series C funding last month – explained that these bills will “stimulate the growth of the industry,” and let Japanese consumers know that they can trust this new form of digital money.

Kano also believes that the bitcoin space in Japan is still in the early stages and that appropriate legislation is needed to entice the big financial firms, “It’s essential for big firms to enter the market, especially major payment and commerce firms,” says Kano.

Mike Kayamori, CEO of Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Quoine and former senior vice president of SoftBank Group, sees the trading of digital currencies flourishing in Japan due to its similarity to Forex trading, which is hugely popular in the country. According to Kayamori, the new bills will also allow the big financial institutions to start offering investment products and services around bitcoin and other alternative virtual currencies.

Kayamori also mentioned the B2B field benefiting greatly from the new digital currency legislation:

“The business-to-business field will really grow and various applications will be available to consumers, such as a payment method,”

 

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