Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

January 06, 2018

Japan Becoming the Leader for Bitcoin

By Luke Bakies - January 05, 2018 (

It is undeniable that Japan has been one of the leaders for Bitcoin over the last few years and it continues to solidify its place as Bitcoin’s heart. Japan has been in the spotlight since the beginning with Bitcoin as founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, is a Japanese name. Japan has been at the forefront of groundbreaking development in Bitcoin, from preserving its longevity to determining how it will be regulated. Despite controversy also associated with Japan with issues like the Mt. Gox implosion which lost over 650,000 Bitcoin, it has remained resilient to push forward for the success of Bitcoin.

The negative events such as Mt. Gox have lead to sweeping reform and regulation to protect customers. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) which is Japan’s regulator, has worked extensively to understand cryptocurrencies to impose fair rules. Their efforts could serve as a basis for the regulation in other countries to protect exchanges and investors.

The Virtual Currency Act has tax reform pertaining to foreign investors, to incentive them to use Japanese exchanges. They also declared Bitcoin an asset and a form of payment but not a legal currency. Lastly they set up licenses for exchanges to create an established market place. These reforms can serve as an outline for future reforms in other countries.

On top of these regulations, Japan has also explored the possibility of expanding blockchain usage within government organizations. They have worked with BitFlyer and are working on a blockchain called “miyabi.” Miyabi boasts the ability to host 4,000 transactions per second with no single point of failure. This could be used with interbank clearing networks to perform faster settlements. With an open mind towards Bitcoin and blockchain, Japan has reaped benefits and it is only a matter of time until other countries follow.

November 29, 2017

1 Million Yen, 100 Million INR – Bitcoin sets new price milestones on International Markets

By Samuel Haig - November 28, 2017 (

With all eyes on bitcoin’s meteoric break of $10,000, less attention has been paid to the price milestones recently established on leading international markets. In recent weeks, the CAD, AUD, NZD, and SGD pairings also surpassed $10,000, whilst a single bitcoin exceeds 500,000 RUB in Russia, 1 million JPY in Japan, 10 million KRW in South Korea, and 100 million IDR in Indonesia.

The Price of Bitcoin Exceeds 1 Million Yen in Japan

As Japan is currently host to more than 60% of global trading volume, reaching the seven-figure milestone on the JPY markets is a big deal for bitcoin. According to cryptocompare, bitcoin broke above one million JPY at approximately 7 pm on the 25th of November EDT. The current JPY/BTC price as of this writing approximately (1:30 am November 29th EDT) is roughly ¥1,300,000

Seven hours after bitcoin broke above one million JPY, the South Korean bitcoin markets reached 10,000,000 KRW for the first time ever. Currently, the Korean markets account for 10% of 24-hour trading volume, comprising the third-largest bitcoin market behind the United States. The current KRW/BTC price is approximately ₩12,600,000.

Bitcoin Tests $15,000 in Australian, Canadian, and Singaporean National Markets

With the exception of an anomalous spike in the AUD/BTC price at the end of October, cryptocompare’s price index indicates that AUD trade convincingly exceeded $10,000 for the first time on November 16th at 4 pm EDT. AUD trade comprises the fifth largest national market with roughly 0.45% of 24-hour bitcoin trade. The current AUD/BTC price is approximately $14,400.

Singapore hosts the seventh largest national bitcoin market equating for roughly 0.34% of total trade. The SGD/BTC price broke above $10,000 for the first time at 11 pm on November 15th EDT and is now currently trading for $14,300 approximately.

Canadian trade presently accounts for 0.2% of 24-hour trading volume, comprising the ninth largest national market. The CAD price of bitcoin broke above $10,000 for the first time at 2 am on November 17 EDT, with CAD/BTC currently trading for $13,300.

Other Major Price Milestones on International Markets

At approximately 11 pm on the 25th of November EDT, the price of bitcoin exceeding 150,000 ZAR in South Africa for the first time. ZAR trade comprises the eighth largest national bitcoin market – comprising 0.25% of 24-hour trade.The current ZAR/BTC price is approximately ZAR167,000.

Indonesia’s bitcoin markets comprise approximately 0.1% of 24-hour trading volume, currently making such the fourteenth largest national market. The IDR/BTC price broke above 100,000,000 rupees at 9 am on November 1st EST, and at approximately midnight on November 29th EDT established a new milestone of over 150,000,000 rupees.

Russian bitcoin prices broke above RUB 500,000 for the first time at 11 pm on November 25 EDT. RUB/BTC trading presently comprises the fifteenth largest national market, representing approximately 0.1% of 24-hour trading volume. Bitcoin is currently trading for approximately RUB 600,000 in Russia.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.

November 13, 2017

Japan teaches Western Governments a lesson in cryptocurrency regulation

By Kai Sedgwick - November 13, 2017 (

Bitcoin is a phenomenon that provokes conflicting emotions in people. Fear. Excitement. Elation. Doubt. For governments tasked with regulating every new thing that comes along, be it the motor car or the internet, bitcoin presents a conundrum. How to regulate such a seemingly unregulatable creation? While many western governments have reached for the button marked “Fear”, Japan has taken the reverse approach.

Land of the Rising Coin

Bitcoin has been an officially legal payment method in Japan since April, when 4,500 stores began accepting the cryptocurrency, and leading financial newspaper, the Nikkei, tips that figure to increase five-Japan Teaches Western Governments a Lesson in Cryptocurrency Regulationfold by the end of the year. Japanese shoppers can spend bitcoin in a range of stores including electronics giant Bic Cam and bitcoin signs are displayed prominently, helping to raise awareness. BTMs – ATMs that exchange fiat for bitcoin – are scattered throughout the country, and there’s even the ability to pay utility bills complete with a special bitcoin discount via Remixpoint.

Following the Mt Gox collapse, in which the country’s (and indeed the world’s) largest bitcoin exchange liquidated, losing 850,000 bitcoins, Japanese regulators stepped in. Rather than try to stem the use of cryptocurrency, they enacted regulations which mandated exchanges to maintain capital reserves, keep customer funds separate, and implement KYC procedures. Meanwhile, many western governments have dithered over cryptocurrency regulation.

Regulators Mount Up

This week, Donald Trump’s treasury secretary issued his first public comments about bitcoin – and they weren’t exactly glowing. His primary concern was with ensuring that bitcoin couldn’t be used
Encryption is bad, m’kay?
“for illicit activities”. He also invoked the usual canards that government officials are prone to uttering in the same breath, citing money laundering, terrorists, and the dark web. The only box the treasury secretary forgot to tick off was the one marked “child pornography”.

These accusations aren’t just limited to bitcoin of course. Cryptography as a whole is the bugbear of many western governments, with British and US leaders in particular expressing frustration that backdoors can’t be built into encrypted messaging platforms such as Whatsapp. Bitcoin is mercifully free from centralized attempts at meddling with code, but that hasn’t prevented governments from restricting entry and exit points from the fiat world. Officials haven’t lain the banhammer on bitcoin, but they’ve done little to support it.

Opportunity or Threat?

Japan is a tech-savvy nation whose elected officials have a better appreciation of the transformative power of emerging technologies than most. It follows that the more digitally-inclined countries should be among the first to embrace cryptocurrency. In Europe, Estonia, with its e-Residency digital passports, is another country that’s been positive towards cryptocurrency.

“Bitcoin regulation” can mean very different things in different countries. In Japan it means taking measures to safeguard citizens whilst encouraging the responsible use of bitcoin and enabling crypto companies to get on with business. In other developed nations, however, “bitcoin regulation” is a euphemism for “anti-money laundering”.

Thumbs Down From Down Under

“Australia follows Japan in move to regulate bitcoin” ran the headline in the Financial Times. It all sounds so promising, but delve into the story and it becomes evident that Australia is not about to start rolling out BTMs and putting up bitcoin signs in its retail stores.

“Stopping the movement of money to criminals and terrorists is a vital part of our national security defences and we expect regulated businesses in Australia to comply with our comprehensive regime,” states the country’s justice minister in Orwellian terms.

Japan hasn’t been shy when it comes to weighing in on bitcoin, as its stringent KYC regulations and new ICO guidelines show. But it’s tempered this with an open invitation to exchange owners, entrepreneurs, crypto pioneers, and bitcoin enthusiasts that says “We’re open for business”. Western governments could learn a lot.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Whatsapp.

Kai Sedgwick

Kai's been assembling words for a living since 2009 and involved with bitcoin since 2013. He's previously written white papers for blockchain companies and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

November 10, 2017

Bitcoin trade in Japan accounts for about half of the global trade volume

By Akiko Fujita - November 06, 2017 (CNBC International)

Japan made bitcoin a legal currency - now it's more popular than ever.

Bitcoin trade in Japan accounts for about half of the global trade volume. Compare that to 25 percent in US.

That number has surged since the government passed a new law earlier this year, recognizing Bitcoin as a legal form of payment.

That law encouraged some big retailers to partner with Bitcoin exchanges and begin accepting the digital currency.

There's already more than 4,500 stores that let you pay with Bitcoin here, and the Nikkei says that number could increase five-fold by the end of the year.

Japan’s legalization of Bitcoin led to rapid surge in mainstream adoption

By Joseph Young - November 10, 2017 (

The Japanese government’s legalization of bitcoin as a currency has led to a surge in mainstream adoption in the country.

The Japanese government’s legalization of bitcoin as a currency has led to a surge in mainstream adoption in the country, as major stores, merchants, and retailers have started to accept bitcoin payments.

Exponential Mainstream Adoption of Bitcoin in Japan

Over the past five months, some of Japan’s largest conglomerates including major budget airline operator Peach, leading electronics retailer Bic Camera, and the nation’s largest budget hotel chain Capsule have been accepting bitcoin payments by partnering with bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

The integration of bitcoin by Bic Camera has played a vital factor in triggering the increase in demand for bitcoin as a payment method within Japan, as unlike most countries, electronic retailers process the vast majority of electronics sales in the country, not e-commerce and online platforms.

More to that, several multi-billion dollar conglomerates have launched their own bitcoin exchanges with differing visions. Remixpoint for instance, a major electric grid operator in Japan, created Bitpoint, a bitcoin exchange, to process electricity and other utility bill payments from general consumers with bitcoin.

Currently, Nikkei, a Japanese business and finance news publication, estimates that 4,500 stores accept bitcoin as a major payment method. By the end of 2017, Nikkei revealed that the number could increase by five-fold, to 22,500.

In an interview with CNBC, bitcoin researcher Mai Fujimoto, who is better known as Miss Bitcoin, stated that smart and practical regulations by the Japanese government allowed general consumers in Japan to build trust in bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.

“Many people have bitcoin now,” said Fujimoto. “Maybe we need time to use bitcoin [regularly] and [in the future] users will have to learn about bitcoin.”

Importance of Practical Regulatory Frameworks in Facilitating Rising Demand for Bitcoin

The approach of the Japanese government to regulate the bitcoin sector rather than to dismiss it has ultimately benefited both the government and general consumers, as it has created a more robust market which the government has, to a certain extent, control over, and users feel secure about their investments.

Previously, Yuzo Kano, the CEO of BitFlyer, the largest bitcoin exchange in Japan by trading volume with more than 800,000 active users, told Nathaniel Poppers of the New York Times that the Japanese financial market and the vast majority of its investors are extremely conservative when it comes to investments. But, he stated that once it is accepted by the public and the norm, conservative investors tend to go all-in.

Such trend has been evidently portrayed in the rapid adoption rate of bitcoin in Japan as a robust store of value, safe haven asset, and a widely acknowledged currency.

“Japanese people tend to be very conservative with their investments, but once they get triggered they go all in,” said Kano.

‘MoneyBall’, ‘The Big Short’ author is glad he kept his Bitcoin

By Rebecca Campbell - November 10, 2017 (

An American non-fiction author and financial journalist has said that while he owns some bitcoin he ‘doesn’t completely get it.’

The author in question is Michael Lewis, author of best-selling books behind hit movies such as The Blind Side, The Big Short, and Moneyball. How much bitcoin does he own? A mere $378 worth. Not exactly a huge sum by any means, but it’s a lot more than what he originally started with.

A few years ago, Lewis was gifted $5 worth of bitcoin. At the time he was considering writing about the currency and wanted to learn more about it. By doing so he ended up spending half a day with bitcoin enthusiasts in Silicon Valley, writes Yahoo! Finance.

His main concern, though, was whether or not he would be able to spend the currency. The people he was with told he could and helped set him up with a digital wallet. They then proceeded to take him out and attempted to buy a cup of coffee with the digital currency in Palo Alto.

Lewis said:

"It was a disaster. Of course it didn’t work. I said, ‘Why don’t you call me when I can buy something with bitcoin,’ and I kept the $5 on my phone".

Since then bitcoin’s value has experienced a surge in value. At the beginning of the year the cryptocurrency was worth $1,000. Now, 11 months later, it’s trading just under $7,200, according to CoinMarketCap. At its highest, the digital currency reached $7,800 yesterday after the news that the controversial SegWit2x protocol upgrade had been suspended.

However, the coins that Lewis owns remain in the same digital wallet that was set up for him, at a rate of $378.

He adds:

"The bitcoin is now more valuable than my phone".

In an interview with TheStreet, he also expressed the view that while he gets the concept of the blockchain, he ‘doesn’t completely get bitcoin.’

Nowadays, though, with the coin’s value increasing more people are finding ways as to how they can spend the currency for day-to-day purchases. Japan is one example, which has embraced the market and is accepting the cryptocurrency for purchase payments. Elsewhere, homeowners selling their homes are now accepting cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin as payment options in Miami and London.

It may not have been easy to use bitcoin to pay for things a few years ago, but that’s certainly changing as its value continues to rise.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

November 07, 2017

New French Restaurant in New York City accepts Bitcoin, Ditches Visa/MasterCard

By Rebecca Campbell - November 07, 2017 (

A new French restaurant in New York City is taking things one step further to give diners a unique experience: it’s letting them pay in bitcoin.

La Sirène, which opened on Friday, is located on Upper West Side, and proclaims to be an authentic French bistro. This is the second La Sirène restaurant in New York. The first is located downtown in Lower Manhattan.

According to the West Side Rag blog, though, while the restaurant accepts bitcoin, cash, cheque, and American Express, it doesn’t take Visa or Mastercard.

Reacting to the blog post, one person wrote:

"They take bitcoin, but not Visa? Who are they hoping to market to? Makes no sense".

Another wrote:

"Bitcoin but no “regular” credit cards (Visa, MasterCard)? Guess they only want to attract the Amex crowd (biz travelers, business people?) … and millennials with bitcoin. And who writes checks anymore?"

As the crypto market continues to gain prominence restaurants are realizing the benefits of accepting the digital currency for payments.

Last August, a New Hampshire restaurant was reported as accepting the digital currency for everything on its menu. Called Street, and located in the west end of Portsmouth, it features a global menu while providing a casual atmosphere for hungry diners.

Shortly after that, Free Keene, a pro-decentralization and pro-bitcoin organization in New Hampshire, revealed that a food truck in Keene, New Hampshire, was accepting bitcoin. Featuring a bitcoin sign on the truck, Bon Vivant – Gourmet Street Food, is believed to be the first food truck in the U.S. to accept the digital currency.

However, it’s not just the food industry that is accepting the cryptocurrency.

In November, Italy’s biggest taxi firm, Cooperative RadioTaxi 3570, announced that it was accepting the digital currency as payment from its customers. In July, Japanese electronics retailer Bic Camera enabled the acceptance of bitcoin to customers across all its stores, becoming the first major Japanese retailer to do so. Whereas, tenants at a London residency can now pay their deposits in the cryptocurrency.

With the digital currency now worth over $5,000 it’s likely that more companies will begin accepting it as a form of payment.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

October 27, 2017

Bitcoin ETF is coming - US Futures Market executives

By Joseph Young - Octover 27, 2017 (

At the Futures Industry Association annual conference held in Chicago over October 17-19, US-based trading powerhouse DRW Holdings founder Don Wilson told reporters that the emergence of bitcoin derivatives and options trading platforms would inevitably lead to the approval of a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Wilson stated:

“Once a derivative is launched, a bitcoin ETF will follow. That’s the common wisdom.”

LedgerX Bitcoin Derivatives Platform Launched With Government Regulation

LedgerX, an institutional trading and clearing platform approved by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to trade and clear swaps and options on digital currencies including bitcoin, successfully launched its bitcoin derivatives trading platform, clearing $1 million in orders within its first week.
In an official announcement, the LedgerX team admitted that the institution was expecting a “soft launch,” clearing minimal bitcoin derivatives and options trades for large-scale institutional investors and retail traders. The team further emphasized that it was planning on processing minimal volumes to test its platform and its infrastructure.

But, LedgerX ended up clearing over $1 million worth of swaps and options trades in its first week, which was unforeseen by the company and the cryptocurrency community. The LedgerX team said:

“As a new exchange and clearing house with technology built entirely from scratch, we were hoping for a quiet first week with minimal volumes to test the pipes. No press, no fanfare, just a laser-sharp focus on our customers, regulators and maybe we’d see a handful of small trades. Wow, were we mistaken — we ended up completing swaps and options trades worth over $1 million. Crucially, these trades were cleared through LedgerX, which is the only institutional grade, US federally regulated exchange and clearinghouse for digital currencies. And we are literally just getting started.”

Derivatives Trading Around Bitcoin Likely to Lead to ETF

As Wilson suggested, the probability of the emergence of bitcoin futures, options, and derivatives trading platforms leading to the approval of a bitcoin ETF is significantly high, because exchanges and clearing houses such as LedgerX are strictly regulated and overseen by financial regulators. All of its trades are protected, insured, and guaranteed, with regulatory oversight and trade surveillance.

“As a clearinghouse, we guarantee all the trades with the highest standard of oversight possible in partnership with the same US regulator that maintains the integrity of the foreign exchange, gold, and oil derivatives markets. There is no other platform in the world that can match the trade surveillance, regulatory oversight, and sophistication of financial instruments that we offer,” the LedgerX team explained.

Investor protection and trade surveillance of regulated platforms like LedgerX will play a vital factor in the approval process of bitcoin ETFs in the future. The SEC previously rejected the bitcoin ETF proposal of the Winklevoss twins in March due to lack of regulation in overseas markets and surveillance on trades.

Within the past seven months, major markets such as Japan and South Korea have significantly improved in terms of regulations. Specifically, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) imposed a national licensing program for cryptocurrency exchanges, recognizing digital currency trading platforms as regulated financial services providers.

Hence, the two major concerns of the SEC in regards to the approval of bitcoin ETFs that include lack of overseas markets and trade surveillance have already been resolved, increasing the probability of an approval for the cryptocurrency instrument in the upcoming months.

October 22, 2017

Seven Japanese Bitcoin exchanges announce Bitcoin Gold hard fork plans

By Kevin Helms - October 22, 2017 (

Seven of Japan’s leading bitcoin exchanges have announced their policies regarding the planned Bitcoin Gold hard fork of the Bitcoin network. The country’s largest exchange, Bitflyer, plans to distribute and trade the new cryptocurrency. Some exchanges will only distribute the coins, while others are taking a wait-and-see approach.

Bitcoin Gold Hard Fork

The Bitcoin Gold hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain is expected to take place at block 491,407, which will likely occur on October 25. A new cryptocurrency, bitcoin gold, is expected to emerge from the fork. Over the past few days, major Japanese bitcoin exchanges have announced their plans regarding this hard fork and how they intend to deal with the new cryptocurrency.


Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitflyer, announced on Saturday that its customers will be credited with an amount of bitcoin gold corresponding to the amount of bitcoin in their accounts prior to the split. No suspension of service is scheduled. The exchange wrote:

"If the BTG [Bitcoin Gold] split is deemed by Bitflyer to be permanent and secure in regards to customer assets, on November 1 (tentative), users will be credited with BTG and purchase and sale of BTG will be made available on Bitflyer".

In addition, the exchange detailed “after sufficient observation of the stability in the BTG chain after the split, BTG deposit and withdrawal services will be made available on Bitflyer.”


Coincheck announced its plans for the Bitcoin Gold hard fork on Thursday. “We are planning to provide bitcoin gold if a Bitcoin Gold split occurs,” the exchange wrote. However, Coincheck explained that there are circumstances where it may not be able to provide the new cryptocurrency, including a lack of adequate replay protection, miner hashpower, or protection from other vulnerabilities. In addition, the coins will not be made available if Coincheck decides that the “listing of bitcoin gold is inappropriate.” Currently, no service suspension has been planned. The exchange wrote:

"We are planning to distribute bitcoin gold after we confirmed its security and stability. We haven’t determined the specific date and time yet".


Bitpoint announced on Friday that “bitcoin gold will be given to customers according to the number of coins [they] held at the time of the split.” However, this can be delayed if the new blockchain is unstable or there is a risk of replay attacks, the exchange conveyed. No service suspension has been planned. Bitpoint added:

"Regarding the withdrawal and deposit services and the buying and selling of the newly generated bitcoin gold, since the security design of the newly formed blockchain has not been sufficiently confirmed, its handling is undecided at this stage".

GMO Coin

GMO Coin announced on Saturday that bitcoin gold will be granted to customers, but the timing has not been decided. In addition, the exchange will temporarily suspend bitcoin deposits and withdrawals around 20:00 on October 25. Furthermore, GMO Coin stated:

"There are no plans to offer services such as buying and selling of bitcoin gold".

Exchanges With No Plans to Distribute

Some exchanges have decided to take a wait-and-see approach.


Tech Bureau’s Zaif exchange announced on Friday that “we have decided not to grant [access to] BTG, [including] deposits, withdrawals, and transactions at this time.” However, it added that “when all the possibilities of concerns have been resolved, the handling of BTG will be considered at our discretion just like other currencies.”

Furthermore, Zaif stated that it will neither move the new cryptocurrency nor exchange it for other currencies “for purposes other than storage.”


Fisco made a similar announcement on Saturday that “we are not planning to grant, deposit, withdraw, or trade bitcoin gold (BTG) at this time.” In addition, the exchange warned that “there is a possibility of suspending the deposits and withdrawals of bitcoins (BTC) around October 25, 2017, when the split is expected (in that case we will announce again).”


Bitbank announced on Thursday that it will not initially grant bitcoin gold to customers, for several reasons including the incomplete state of Bitcoin Gold’s code. However, the company will take a snapshot of customer assets at the time of the split. The exchange also stated the situation may be “reviewed in the future.”

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoin Gold, Bitflyer, Coincheck, Bitpoint, GMO, Zaif, Fisco, and Bitbank.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

October 17, 2017

JPY, USD, and KRW accounts for 0ver 90% of Bitcoin traded on exchanges

By Samuel Haig - October 17, 2017 (

CNY to bitcoin trading now accounts for approximately only 1% of all bitcoin trade occurring on exchanges, according to cryptocompare data. The Chinese cryptocurrency crackdown has drastically altered the global composition of bitcoin markets. 60% of bitcoin trading currently occurs through Japanese markets, with the U.S. and South Korean markets also comprising a significant share of the global bitcoin trade.

Japan Now Exerts Dominance Within the Bitcoin Markets

Last week, published a story that explained Japanese bitcoin trading comprises approximately 60% of all volume. Japanese trading volume spiked last year, following Japan’s passing of legislation recognizing bitcoin as a legitimate means of payment.

Approximately 80% of JPY/BTC trade during the last 24 hours took place on Bitflyer and Bitflyerfx. Coincheck is currently the second largest Japanese exchange, accounting for approximately 15% of trading. The third largest exchange, Zaif, comprises 4% of trading volume. As such, Japan’s bitcoin market is among the most centralized, with approximately 99% of BTC/JPY trading volume occurring on just three exchanges.

USD Comprises the Second Largest Bitcoin Market, Accounting for 25% of All Trading

The share of global bitcoin trading done in USD has fluctuated greatly over the years. During bitcoin’s infancy, the overwhelming majority of bitcoin trading was conducted in USD. Following China’s dramatic entrance into bitcoin markets at the end of 2013, the share of total trade conducted in US dollars fell to less than 10%. Since China’s crackdown on margin and cryptocurrency trading, dollar trade has risen to approximately one-quarter of all trade.

Bitfinex is the dominant exchange for USD trading, accounting for approximately 40% of the last 24h trading volume. Bitstamp is second, with 13%, followed by Gdax – 12%, Gemini – 7.5%, and Poloniex – 7%. The USD bitcoin markets are among the most decentralized, with approximately 90% of volume being shared across the top seven exchanges.

South Korea Has Emerged as a Significant Player in the Bitcoin Markets

Currently, South Korean volume accounts for roughly 9% of all bitcoin trading. The majority of South Korean trading occurs on Bithumb, which currently comprises 65% of 24-hour trade volume. Coinone and Korbit each account for approximately 17% of trade respectively. Bitcoin to Euro trading is the fourth most dominant sector of the bitcoin markets, comprising 3.3% of 24-hour trade volume.

Over the last twelve months, Chinese exchanges have gone from hosting over 90% of all bitcoin trade, to just 1% of the global volume. China is now the fifth largest market for exchange-based trading, with approximately 4600 bitcoins being traded for CNY on exchanges.

The Diminishing Presence of Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges

In January, it was announced that the People’s Bank of China would be monitoring the operations of the country’s major bitcoin exchanges. Soon thereafter, the PBOC placed restrictions on the amount of leverage offered for margin trading by Chinese exchanges, amidst accusations that high leverage trading may have been used to manipulate prices.

The ban on margin trading inspired speculation that bitcoin would not be able to sustain the bull trend leading into 2017 that had seen bitcoin break above $1000 USD for the first time since 2014. Ultimately, the clamp-down on Chinese margin trading appeared to have been interpreted as a positive indication of the cryptocurrency’s maturation, as prices continued establishing all-time highs despite the major Chinese bitcoin exchanges accounting for approximately 10% of total overall market share respectively.

Speculations of bitcoin’s inability to support record prices without a dominant Chinese presence again circulated in the run-up to most of China’s cryptocurrency exchanges ceasing operations by the start of October. With bitcoin setting new all-time price highs, it would appear that the bitcoin markets have emerged unscathed by the closure of most Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cryptocompare

Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a cryptocurrency and economics journalist who has been passionately involved in the bitcoin space since 2012. Samuel has written about the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency with regards to the dialectical relations within contemporary neoliberal capitalism.

October 11, 2017

Japan’s 3 megabanks unite on a blockchain for P2P money transfer ‘field trial’

By Samburaj Das - October 11,2017 (

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu will conduct a joint field trial of person-to-person money transfers between individuals from Japan’s three ‘megabanks’.

Japan is lagging behind the likes of China and South Korea in digital payments – a measly 19% of Japanese society has gone cashless, compared to over 50% of in both China and Korea. Such is the disparity that the Japanese government, this year, established a FinTech growth strategy that aims to double the adoption rate of digital payments to 40% over the next decade.

A new real-world cashless money-transfer trial between all three of Japan’s so-called ‘megabanks’ is certain to provide a boost for that initiative.

In an announcement yesterday, Japanese technology firm Fujitsu revealed it is working with Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial (MUFG- Japan’s largest bank), to conduct a joint field trial of a person-to-person money transfer service powered by blockchain technology.

Fujitsu is currently developing a cloud-based blockchain platform that will enable money transfers between individuals on a platform that will jointly be used by the three banks. The firm is also working on a smartphone application where users will be able to send and receive money as well as engage in deposits and withdrawals. Both solutions will plug in to the individual’s actual bank account with the three banks.
Image credit: Fujitsu

Fujitsu explained:

"Through this field trial, Fujitsu will work to develop a service platform that is highly convenient for users in an increasingly monetarily diverse, cashless society… Against this backdrop, Fujitsu will commence field trials with three major Japanese banks that possess broad customer bases to evaluate the creation of new services in the field of person-to-person money transfers".

Fujitsu plans to finish development of the blockchain platform in December this year before a planned real-world field trial from January to March 2018.

Fujitsu, Japan’s largest IT services firm, has already seen operational success in same-day settlements of securities transactions powered by blockchain technology, in a partnership with Mizuho.

In a separate endeavor, the Japanese Bankers Association (JBA) – an industry body working on behalf of all 252 banks operating in the country – is also developing a common blockchain platform for money transfer trials as  possible upgrade for the current nationwide payments clearing platform Zengin.

Tokyo image from Shutterstock.

October 07, 2017

Japan’s largest Bitcoin exchange, Bitflyer, launches Bitcoin Visa prepaid card

By Kevin Helms - October 7, 2017 (

Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitflyer, has launched its own reloadable Visa prepaid card. Customers can fund them using bitcoin through Bitflyer or other bitcoin wallets. The exchange is also giving away gifts to 1,000 customers during the launch period.

Bitflyer’s Visa Prepaid Card

Bitflyer announced on Friday the launch of its yen-denominated bitcoin Visa prepaid card. Starting on October 6, customers can apply for Bitflyer-branded Visa prepaid cards, fund them with bitcoin and use them at any stores that accept Visa cards.
The cards are free to use, with neither a signup fee nor an annual fee, according to Bitflyer’s website. Customers can reload their cards via their Bitflyer accounts online or using a mobile phone app. Balances on the cards are displayed in Japanese yen.

There is a limit of 30,000 yen per load, a monthly load limit of 120,000 yen and a lifetime load limit of 1 million yen per card. In addition, each card expires in 5 years and its balance cannot exceed 100,000 yen.

To commemorate the event, Bitflyer is conducting a drawing to give away gifts to 1,000 “Trade Class” customers who have signed up with confirmed transactions between October 6 and October 22. Bitflyer has two account classes; the Wallet Class and the Trade Class. Wallet Class users are not eligible to purchase or sell digital currencies.

Signing Up, Funding, and Vandle Cards

To sign up for a Bitflyer Visa prepaid card, customers are directed to apply on Vandle Card’s website. Vandle cards are Visa prepaid cards, a product of Kanmu Inc and Orico Corporation. They have partnered with Bitflyer to issue the exchange’s branded Vandle cards. The cards can be used at “more than 40 million merchants in more than 200 countries and regions to enhance convenience,” wrote Kanmu Inc.

After signing up, customers will receive their Bitflyer prepaid cards in the mail, which must be registered with the exchange to begin funding through it.
The Vandle website explains that all Vandle cards can be funded in several ways, such as with a credit card, the NTT Docomo mobile payment, or using an ATM that supports “Pay-Easy.” Customers can also reload their cards at Family Mart, Lawson, Circle K, Sunkus, Mini Stop, and Seicomart convenient stores. Furthermore, all Vandle cards can also be funded with bitcoin via another bitcoin exchange, Coincheck, as well as other mobile wallets using a provided QR code.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.