On May 22, Japan’s Peach Aviation announced it will soon start accepting Bitcoin as a legitimate form of payment. Peach will even go a step further and install Bitcoin ATMs in all of the airports within Japan. This move suggests the acceptance of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and it might also help with attracting even more tourists from Asia.
Accepting Bitcoin at Japanese airports will be beneficial for many passengers. For example, Peach doesn’t only operate domestic flights, but also those to Korea, Thailand, and China as well. Now that the process has started, it’s expected that passengers will be able to pay with Bitcoin by the end of this year.
The decision to start accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment is not unique to Peach, but it’s a significant decision nonetheless. The first airline to accept bitcoin was in fact airBaltic, and it started using bitcoin over three years ago. This is due to the partnership with UATP (Universal Air Travel Plan) which is a payment network for the international airlines. Not only were they among the first services to accept Bitcoin, but they also supported other payment options like Alipay and PayPal.
Despite the fact that you technically can pay for your ticket with Bitcoin on a majority of airlines through third party services, it still comes down to the decision of each individual airline whether or not they will accept this form of payment directly. Many have chosen not to do so for now. You can still pay with bitcoin for the tickets at online travel booking websites, but airports aren’t acting too supportive as of yet.
This announcement from Peach came soon after Japan itself officially recognized Bitcoin and accepted it as a legal form of payment. The country was debating the issue of cryptocurrencies for more than a year, and it resulted a positive resolution for the emerging sector.
This law will also improve the relationship between banks and cryptocurrency exchanges. That means that the same restrictions against money laundering will still be applied, as well as know-your-customer rules.
Still, Bitcoin existed in Japan for quite some time now, and merchants were using this currency even before its official recognition by the government. However, the number of merchants that are using it now has quadrupled over the past year. The number went from 900 in 2016, to 4600 today.
Japan has struggled with a stagnation in consumer spending for years now, despite multiple ideas to boost it. Some of those ideas involved sending money to the citizens via mail checks, or even a “helicopter money” method. However, acceptance of the new currency such as Bitcoin might just be the solution to increasing consumer spending.
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