Can Bitcoin transactions in Japan reach China’s level?
According to Kawabata Kagayaki, the Business Development Lead of Coincheck, Japan’s leading Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange, it is possible at some point for Japan’s Bitcoin transaction volume to reach the same level as it is being recorded in China presently.
In an email, Kawabata, hinged the possibility on the view that the future of Bitcoin in China seems uncertain unless and until the government and the top financial institution, the People’s Bank of China, are cooperative with the crypto industry as it is in Japan.
“After PBOC visiting major China exchanges, they stopped margin trading for new customers decreasing trading volume overall. We’re not sure when they resume it again, but if Chinese government strictly regulate cryptocurrency Japan’s bitcoin trading volume may exceed China’s volume,” Kawabata says in the email.
So much has changed for Bitcoin in Japan since the Mt. Gox scandal. Japan is one of the first countries to pass a bill that mandated the regulation of Bitcoin and virtual currency exchanges in May 2016. The introduction of these measures seems to have helped the recovery process from the scandal which has given Bitcoin a bad name in Japan. The digital currency gained even more legitimacy in the public eye as a result of the move. The country also proposed plan to end sales-tax collection on purchases of virtual currencies which will come into effect by Junethis year. It will end the 8% consumption tax that buyers in Japan pay to obtain Bitcoins at dedicated exchanges along with other fees.
The number of merchants accepting Bitcoin in Japan reportedly grew by more than four times in the last twelve months, according to a new survey by ResuPress Inc. The survey says about 4,200 shops including those in the fashion industry such as beauty and nail salons, remodeling companies, and eateries accept the digital currency.
According to Willy Woo, a provider of data-driven information on cryptocurrency investments, the real Chinese Bitcoin volume stands at about 80% in the world - though he estimates that Chinese exchanges volume has been over-reported in the past by 40x.
Woo also notes that the recent downtrend in Bitcoin investment suggests a rise in high net worth investors entering via Over The Counter markets which means real people are buying the digital currency. This claim is supported by latest data from LocalBitcoins, the world’s largest online Bitcoin marketplace, which shows its global weekly trading volume record was broken in the week ending Dec. 31 to indicate that Person-to-Person trading (P2P) is thriving globally.
All these added together, it didn’t come as a surprise as figures from Bitcoinity show that Bitcoin trading volume among top exchanges that are based on Chinese yuan has been reducing - albeit slowly - since January 1 when it had been up to 98.8% of the market. Graphic representation shows that it now stands at 93.6% (see image) which is still a wide margin but falling at an unprecedented rate.
Kawabata notes that despite the foreseen possibility, Japan still has a long way to go if it would have to reach China’s level in terms of transactions. He suggests the need for exchanges in China to work more with the government. He says:
“However, there’s still a huge gap between China’s trading volume. Japan has roughly about 10% of overall bitcoin trading volume (2nd largest in the market in the world), in contrast, some say China has more than 90% of the overall trading volume of bitcoin. If China’s trading volume shrinks and Japan’s trading volume accelerate, Japan may end up to be the no.1 Bitcoin trading market in the world. Overall, we hope Chinese exchanges work closely with the government where all parties can work together for the healthy development of bitcoin market and cryptocurrency industry.”
The CEO of Decent, Matej Michalko, shares a similar view that the only way for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to progress and become mainstream is for governments to stop overlooking them and prepare a well-crafted legislature that would regulate the undesirable volatile model and add a layer of stability.
In an email, he states: “During the past few years, there has been a boom in initial coin offering and small blockchain startups that came to existence. It started a chain reaction of new, exciting ideas. Open-source became the buzzword. And this is just beginning. I believe we will see an exponential growth of revolutionary visions, more people will be attracted to this movement, and many more established businesses will start implementing the technology. Wall Street’s already spending over $40 billion on blockchain solutions.”
On his view about Bitcoin regulation in most countries of the world, Kawabata believes many countries will adopt some kind of cryptocurrency regulations as the valuation of the digital currency increases.
He says: “To keep sustainable and healthy market cooperation with government is necessary. If government decide to ban Bitcoin, operating exchange could shut down right away. I hope each country adapts regulation that doesn’t kill the potential of Bitcoin.”