Bitflyer and Yamada Denki will be working hand-in-hand as the largest consumer electronics franchise in Japan tests the water for bitcoin payments.
Having launched in the US in November 2017, Bitflyer is one of the leading Japanese digital currency exchanges. It is also the fourth-largest trading platform, making it a high-profile partnership for the electronics retail giant.
Yamada Denki has revealed that it will be trialing bitcoin payments at two of its Tokyo-based stores. Should the process run smoothly, bitcoin will become an officially-accepted payment method in all of its stores across Japan.
As BTCManager understands it, two very-specific stores were selected for this practice run, both of which are in prime locations with the ability to attract high volumes of visitors, many of them foreign.
The stores in question are Concept Lab Tokyo and Yamada Denki Labi Shinjuku. Neither store has anything to lose from the agreement but would benefit greatly from the additional publicity and increased stream of visitors.
According to Yamada Denki, there is a payment limit associated with this action, presently set at $2,760 or 300,000 yen. Working not to dissuade visitors from the bitcoin option, Yamada Denki has been agreed to provide 500 yen to the first 500 people to pay with a digital card in the hospital.
Bitflyer has released positive reviews on the experience, saying:
“Through collaboration with Yamaka Denki, we are contributing to improving the convenience of more customers in Japan and overseas,” expressed the exchange.
Yamada Denki also made a public statement on the partnership, mentioning that the retail chain sees it as part of a far bigger picture.
“We will implement initiatives to improve bitcoin recognition and usage promotion. With the introduction of bitcoin payment service, we respond to the diverse needs of our customers both in Japan and overseas. We believe that we can provide improved service and convenience,” said a spokesperson for the company.
Yamada Denki is part of a large group of stores that it operates, with Yamada Mobile, Yamada Outlet, Labi Stores and Tecc Land stores being key players. If all goes well with the Bitcoin test run, it is likely just a matter of time before the remainder of the stores across all sub-companies follow suit.
Yamada Denki would not be the first electronics giant to collaborate with Bitflyer. Another large electronics retailer, Bic Camera, made the same move recently. Interestingly, Bic Camera’s strategy was much the same, beginning initially with just two stores as a live feasibility study. Following that, the announcement was made in July 2017 that Bic Camera was officially accepting bitcoin payments in stores nationwide – of which there are about 40 individually-operated stores.
Interestingly, Japan wasn’t a leading player in the bitcoin game until China’s respective ban diverted attention to Japan. As China has gone back and forth over its cryptocurrency regulations, Japan continued to thrive. Presently, Japan accepts bitcoin at close to 5,000 stores in varying industries nationwide and has become a global leader in bitcoin and blockchain innovation.
Feature image by Medwedsky