My Interesting Experience Trying to Use Bitcoin in Japan



I was recently in Japan and I was very intrigued by the Bitcoin situation there you hear all these things about how Japan is you know leading the charge in terms of Bitcoin that they had Pro Bitcoin regulations you know anyone that knows the Japanese or spend some time in Japan knows that it's a technologically advanced society as well so you would think you would think that Bitcoin would be huge there would be used everywhere and that you'd get this real sense that Japan was kind of leading the innovation and leading the payment's processing sector in terms of Bitcoin well like I said I was just there I was there for two weeks I've been there three times before and I spent three days in Tokyo and I took it upon myself to try and spend some Bitcoin in a couple of different ways and my experience may actually surprise you it was quite interesting so in today's video we're going to discuss my experience in Japan what it was actually like using Bitcoin was it easy where could you actually spend it and then we're gonna go into a bit of Japan's regulations and what kind of the back scene behind the scenes is actually looking like in terms of Japan's progression with Bitcoin in cryptocurrencies so stick around guys and let's get into the video [Applause] now first thing as some of you obviously may have been wondering why I haven't been posting videos over the past couple of weeks only posted I believe to videos and that's because I was in Japan I go to Japan once every year or once every couple of years ah too because it's an amazing country and also because the snow there is amazing and I go to the snow with my friends and we enjoy exploring parts of Japan and enjoying the amazing food and the ramen there which is just insanely good so I was there for the past two weeks only just got back yesterday flew in from Tokyo I spent some time up in the north this time spent some time in Nice echo and Sapporo and and Tokyo always spent some time in Tokyo but going there this time was the first time that I had been as deep into Krypto as I am now and so I kind of took it upon myself when I was there to spend some Bitcoin or to convert some of my Bitcoin into Japanese yen now one of the principal drivers for this was because I was having issues finding a cost-effective solution for exchanging currency from Australian dollars to yen now what do I mean by that well typically there are options you can use you can get travel cards now travel cards may have a less of a fee on exchanging your local currency to the foreign currency and then they'll have a lower transaction fee or sometimes even no transaction fees when you're using the card like a debit card in another country now a few years ago I did a lot of research I found what was then the best in Australia which is which was the velocity version velocity card it was completely free exchange rate exchange rate fees were low and using the card is really low and you also got velocity points so that was the card I took over there but little did I know that some of the some of the fee structures had changed and converting the currency to yen was actually extremely expensive it was extremely expensive in fact my local debit card is from my bank was arguably cheaper and easier to use so when I was there I thought well you know what here I am I've got Bitcoin I'm gonna find a Bitcoin ATM and I'm gonna sell someone Bitcoin for Japanese yen even after fees it was still cheaper than using a travel card and I thought what a good use case for using Bitcoin in another country that doesn't have Bitcoin accepted everywhere you can just go to a Bitcoin ATM convert your Bitcoin into the local currency pay you know maybe two and a half to three percent fees and then you put the local currency it's cheaper than using a travel card so I took it upon myself to find a Bitcoin ATM now obviously what you mean looking at for the past few minutes while I've been rambling is Bitcoin ATMs in Japan now this blew my socks off seven listed Bitcoin ATMs on coin ATM radar which is kind of the the number one website that I know globally for finding Bitcoin and crypto ATMs around the world so seven ATMs and and a good chunk of them were in Tokyo unsurprisingly Tokyo is absolutely massive as a city like seriously huge huge huge City so seven only seven now that I could not believe when I first saw this I thought you know you always hear about these pro Bitcoin regulations you have these exchanges that have huge trading volume in Japan why is there only seven Bitcoin ATMs why is no one using Bitcoin here what is actually going on now to give you some perspective as to how low this actually is in Australia bar lower population completely different demographic right Australia is a completely different demographic to Japan we have 55 we have 55 ATMs compared to Japan that only has seven what so so crazy so when I got to Japan I found out there was only these seven ATMs and I thought I gotta track down some of these ATMs I'm gonna find some of these ATMs and I gotta sell some of my Bitcoin for crypto at least there's some near where I was staying I was staying in a place called Tsukiji which is where hopefully I pronounced that correctly in the past I've said I have stayed in Shinjuku I've stayed in Shibuya but even though we're staying in Tsukiji we went to a district called Roppongi now while I was in Roppongi here's some of what I saw so here's a sign advertising a company called diem and Bitcoin so when I saw this I thought oh you know there's not a lot of ATMs but alysom scenes and Bitcoin advertising this is pretty cool I'm gonna have no problems exchanging my Bitcoin for Japanese yen or even buying some stuff with Bitcoin which would have been even more awesome now we'll cruising along Roppongi and I saw another sign the DMM Bitcoin now by the way I should state these are photos that I actually took there's not as random photos off the internet now one of these nights too we were cruising along in a bar I'll come back to this I'll come back to this but this is what I saw in a bar I saw an advertisement for Bitcoin cash that's one but not Bitcoin so I don't use Bitcoin cash I use Bitcoin and I couldn't pay for anything with Bitcoin it was only Bitcoin cash but we're going to come back to that so here was in Roppongi I was cruising around we've seen these signs of Bitcoin and I was thinking okay this is gonna be no worries I'm gonna be able to find a Bitcoin ATM no worries at all the first one I went to find was in Roppongi was right in Roppongi I went to the cafe and none of the staff there had even had any prior knowledge of this atm ever being there so either the staff were very new or the ATM had been gone for a very long time and in fact I ended up going in checking coin ATM radar and someone had left a note saying this ATM was gone so one of the seven Bitcoin ATMs in Japan was gone so then I thought okay what's the next way what's the next ATM I can find and the next closest one was further down from Roppongi it was about a 10 minute walk and it was for a company called a bit pay dirt I think or bit something I can't quite remember the full name so he walked all the way down to their head office which is a massive skyscraper because the the ATM was located in their office we walked into the foyer and the foyer was one of those typical foyers that you seen those huge corporate buildings that they actually have security at the front of the elevators you kind of the elevator so I went to I went to the security guard down and said okay can I get through security I want to go up to the floor that the sock that this Bitcoin office is located so I can use their ATM you know what he said to me said the only way you can come through the security is if you've been personally invited by the company and they have given you a QR or a barcode that allows you one or two time access to the office so here I was in Japan apparently the the Bitcoin center of the universe I mean it's massive skyrise tale and I can't even get to the office where this company this Bitcoin company has put their Bitcoin ATM and I'm just like this this is insane like this is pure insanity actually being here in Japan I'm seeing a completely different story in terms of Bitcoin and its use in Japan and you can't really you can't argue with that when you're in a country and you're seeing it firsthand you know that's about as but a good experience as you can get so I had to retire my search for looking for a Bitcoin ATM because the others were in other parts of Tokyo and to be honest my my reliability kind of ticker on my head for for actually finding and using one was going down and down so the next part of this story then goes to what about merchants adoption what about merchants actually accepting Bitcoin that allow you to go and pay so coming back to this photo of all the restaurants I went to of all the bars I went to and there were a couple of all the shops I went to of all the supermarkets all the clothes shops and retail stores this was the only place I saw an advertisement accepting cryptocurrency and was Bitcoin cash the only one and I went to a lot remember I went to tokyo sapporo Niseko and also into a little town called Cochin now this is not representative of the entire Japan I understand that there is still a soccer there is Kyoto there's all these other cities there is southern Japan but Tokyo is the capital that's that's where you're going to see a document especially places like repoing where it's a lot of bars a lot of nightlife that that's the kind of places people can be using maybe more progressive people are gonna be using digital currencies so my my experience completely surprised me it blew me away now this doesn't change the fact that Japan is still seeing a lot of growth while it was in its exchangers right so here's what I'm thinking the exchanges have done very well in Japan in the past despite all the hacks and all the rest of it because the Japanese government was Pro with his regulation towards crypto except for Bitcoin exchanges early on so a lot of big exchanges flock to Japan they got a lot of growth mailboxes one in Japan by the way and that exchanges did well now so often you can confuse or the media can confuse or the general crypto community can confuse you know maybe the growth in exchanges with user adoption but the two are completely different so this country this country was doing very well with exchanges but merchants adoption user adoption virtually zero from what I could see now I think there's also a deeper issue here now I hope they don't go off on a massive tangent with this I think there's a bit of a different issue here and that's in relation to how the Japanese use money so in Japan this may surprise you because Japan is such a technologically advanced country I mean they just know how to do life they really do the trains the technology like Japan knows how to do life but they aren't big on digital payments they are big there are a large cache using society now I've done of the data in front of me to back us up but I am confident the data will support my anecdotal assessment based on my experience just about everywhere you go uses cache now smaller restaurants and things will accept cards but if you want to buy a train ticket if you're gonna use a vending machine if you want to go to some even very popular restaurants like each Iran ramen which is a kind of a famous ramen restaurant chain in Japan you must use cash and a lot of these restaurants will have little machines in the front of them that you preorder your meal on it prints you out a ticket and you take a ticket they look at the ticket and see what you bought it and then they're making your food it's completely different to what we're used to here in the West but they're all cash so my assessment is that the Japanese are not big on digital payments which is completely the opposite as to here in Australia we are huge on digital payments EFT pause people just bang F boss pretty much anywhere you go anyway I go down that doesn't except F I'm almost like what are you doing you're just you're actually limiting yourself to potential business because everyone uses digital payments now everyone uses pay wave which is this where you get card you just wave it everyone uses that here so businesses that don't have that it's like that's crazy what are you doing so I think the Japanese fundamentally in the way they use money Bitcoin using Bitcoin may be a stretch in the future it may be a stretch what I mean by that is it may take some work to actually get the culture used to using some form of different payment other than cash that's my assessment that's my assessment so what about the actual regulations like what's actually going on can this tell us a bit more of the bigger picture of the bigger story well in relation to Bitcoin being legal tender and this is the thing guys when you see positive regulations about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in different countries that you have to realize that there's a clear separation between Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies being classed as money so money has multiple definitions I follow the Austrian school of definition of money but in terms of regular the regulatory legal definition of money very few countries are going to give Bitcoin that status because once you give Bitcoin money status it changes everything changes everything for the for the good for the consumer but they're not going to relinquish power of the financial system overnight so what you'll find is they may change some existing regulations they'll say bring in a classification of digital currencies to be called digital assets or class immers property or classroom or something but they're not going to given this status as money and therefore being there for being a long the the the the National Fayette currencies in that particular country so Bitcoin being legal tender it can be used as payments not too dissimilar to say we pay or these other apps that have these kind of digital currencies you'll see some restaurants in Japan accepting we pay whether the credits are used in that up so Japan back in 2017 Japan passed the virtual currency app act in March 2017 the status of Bitcoin is legal tender and area any jurisdiction will have a significant effect on the demand for Bitcoin enhances value but that that's assuming there is demand to begin with so this is an old article right I don't think there's a lot of demand in Japan for people to be using it down here some claim that the virtual currency AK is Bitcoin legal tender status in Japan next one down the virtual currency Act defines Bitcoin another virtual currency as a form of payment method not a legalized a legally recognized currency or legal tender so that's what I think a lot of the confusion has come around for Japan being this big Pro Bitcoin country is that when when it passes act essentially saying you can use Bitcoin to buy goods and services it was promoted as Bitcoin is now money alongside the yen now I was probably even guilty of misinterpreting this a year and a half ago when this first came out because I didn't look into it enough back then so you can see that the government was was was was proactive in giving Bitcoin enough legal status to be used but not in any way that it was going to threaten the existing financial system and thus the Fiat printing of paper backed by nothing so you can see here over in Wikipedia this is a really good list of the legal status of Bitcoin by country you'd be surprised that where it's still legal for instance Taiwan but you can see here back up in Japan we've got on the 7th of March 2014 the Japanese government in response to a series of questions asked in the National Diet I'm not sure if that's correct um anyway made a cabinet decision on the legal treatment of bitcoins in the form of answers to the questions decision did not say Bitcoin as currency nor bond under the current current banking act and financial instruments and exchange law prohibiting banks and securities companies from dealing in bitcoins the decision also acknowledges that there are no laws to unconditionally prohibit individuals or legal entities from receiving bitcoins in exchange for goods services taxes may be applicable to bitcoins so that was back in 2014 so what I think is because the Japanese government gave Bitcoin just enough leeway to operate in the country companies flocked their credit exchanges and these changes did very well because they had a safe or seifish existing legal structure in which to operate now moving on to the exchanges themselves how they going what's the story behind DMM Bitcoin well this is a this post was back in January 2018 you can see that's very similar to the picture that I saw a DMM Bitcoin so title of the article Japan's DMM Bitcoin exchange opens for business with seven crypto currencies so Japanese ecommerce and its timing joint EMM group has launched its crypto exchange supporting seven cryptocurrencies and fourteen trading pairs the group is also preparing to launch another crypto exchanges Spring aimed at experienced investors so this was this was the exchanges big launch they launched back in early 2018 and probably expected a lot of business to come from it remembering at the beginning of 2018 was the very beginning of the end of the ball of the bull market that was when things started to get the beginning and when things started to get quite quite hairy now interestingly next up Japan's DMM exiting crypto morning business japanese ecommerce giant MMO comp is reportedly exiting the cryptocurrency mining business due to deteriorating profitability local media reported this follows an announcement by another japanese company GMO internet that it will no longer manufacture and sell mining machines citing similar reasons now this one's interesting so this was back in September 2018 so not long ago Japanese regulator unveils crypto regulation updates japan's financial regulator has recently unveiled the current state the crypto regulations in the country the three crypto operators are currently being reviewed with a hundred and sixty companies wanting to enter the space the regulator plans to add more personnel to help review new applicants in addition a self-regulatory plan for crypto exchanges has also been submitted to the regulator and if we come down here we should actually see a tweet now I wasn't here it was another article there's a tweet from Joseph poon saying you know growth in Japan is huge this is big but remembering what I said at the start we need to separate the backend business to business side from the business to consumer side because people just aren't using Bitcoin in Japan business might be good for exchanges but people just aren't using Bitcoin so there's a lot of work to do a lot of work to do but again I think a lot of this really comes down to how the demographic you use money they're they're kind of sentiment towards digital payments maybe there has something to do with it I'm not going to pretend to understand the culture in that level of detail having any spent you know a month a month and a half in Japan over the past few years but I think there's a lot of potential I think there's a lot of potential I think that the Japanese are well poised in terms of their technology and their mindset towards innovation to see Bitcoin is absolutely ripped but what we might need to see unfortunately is some economic turmoil to see people turn to and use hard sound money which is exactly what is happening in parts of South America as the trading volume on local bitcoins calm goes absolutely crazy in countries like Venezuela Peru Chile Colombia as the populace is losing faith uncertainty in the local fiat money the paper money backed by nothing so guys that's pretty much it for the video that is my take that is my experience on Bitcoin in Japan it was interesting and interesting to see how it picks up in the next year or so when I go back but before I descend this video guys I want to give my new course a plug this is my brand new course a guide for cryptocurrency trends in 2019 so what were you learn for this course so firstly this course is on udemy so for our very first course that we did about 18 months ago we had it on udemy and our own website and my eventual plan was to only have my courses exclusively on my website think about having them on my website is it is it quite a bit of work to actually get them on there so for the time being the course is on udemy but I've done it how long I'm gonna keep it on there for I don't know how long I'm gonna keep it on there for and and I don't know how long we're gonna keep the price this low for so at the moment using the coupon code that I'm going to put down in the description and in the comments the course is at a 77 percent discount so the ultimate guide for cryptocurrency trends in 2019 what actually is it well 33 lectures are nearly five hours of content we go through a recap on 2018 what went wrong lesson to learn how to use strategically the lessons learned from 2018 to your advantage we go into security token platforms privacy coins block pain gaming and virtual assets that platforms and protocols tools and analysis for 2019 and a conclusion this is probably the the best piece of work I think I've ever done in my two years in crypto leveraging how well our first course did it was the highest-rated on udemy.com for like six months it's now free there's the ratings still four point eight out of five I'm extremely proud of the work we did on this it's highly polished edited it's beautiful I'm extremely extremely happy with how this turned out so I'm gonna keep it uh new to me for a while like I said if you want to get in while it's a seventy seven percent discount that you'll find the link in the description there is a limited number of discount coupons for the course so yeah I really don't know how long it's going to be on there for but I hope you do it hope you anyone that does this cost is directly supporting us here at cryptocurrency Australia we appreciate anyone that does it even if you consider it hey you gave us some time and I really appreciate that so any of us guys that's it for the video thanks so much for watching the whole thing if you did my name is Bo and I catching the next one Cheers

24 thoughts on “My Interesting Experience Trying to Use Bitcoin in Japan”

  1. Nice talk, thank you. My opinion regarding crypto use cases, or lack of it here is that the Japanese love cash, especially for smaller purchases under $100. Digital currency use is big but a common goal seems to be to gather points that can later be exchanged for discounts or presents, and of course purchasing higher cost items. BTC and alts in my opinion are primarily used to speculate or as a longer term investment so most are HODLing. Many Japanese are still very cautious as they got in (like many) during the late 2017 high.
    Lastly, as you mentioned, "economic turmoil", or government corruption is no where to be seen here (comparatively) so there is no real use case catalyst. So in my opinion crypto is still weird but interesting digital play money : )

  2. I just got back from Japan snowboarding too. It was my first time, I was blown away by the technology and then the use of cash. I couldn't use my cards in heaps of places which surprised me.

  3. You are right. I am working in Roppongi and I have been there in that cafe. Since the interest gone down, people aren't using ATMs

  4. Seriously Bitcoin has a huge problem because once you turn fiat into Bitcoin then buy something then the vendor has to turn Bitcoin into fiat, in this sense a cash and card economy shits all over Bitcoin.

  5. In the last 2 years I’ve visited Cancun Mexico, Costa Rica, and some other place I’m now forgetting. In all those places I asked businesses if they took Bitcoin, they had no idea about it. That’s including exchange offices at hotels lobby+… even in the US one asks businesses if they take bitcoin and many of them don’t even know about it. Crazy. Main story is that we need to be careful not to be in our own bubble about crypto and ignore what’s actually happening in the real world.

  6. Japan is still totally cash and 'paper' dominated and the fax machine still rules. I doubt anything has changed much sent I lived there between 2005 and 2015.

  7. Great video Beau thank you for the insight! Bitcoin posters at airports and media coverage is one thing, reality sounds like a whole different ballgame.

  8. I love all of your information but seriously.. bitcoin ATMs are pretty useless for locals. The Japanese buy all of their BTC online.
    I don't think the tourism infrastructure in Japan is quite accessible in all avenues yet.
    Standard ATMs in Japan with fiat money are almost as difficult.

  9. Good vid mate, seems a lot of people myself included think that you can use crypto’s all over japan. Thanks for the insight.

  10. I like this video…thank you….interesting – here a lot of people think Japan is very advanced in btc payments…thanks for this update.

  11. Bridging currencies is daylight robbery at the moment. XRP will change all that. Millions have been converted for pennies on the XRP ledger. Bitcoin can't scale properly and is too expensive at the moment, hope things improve.

  12. Very interesting video Beau! Interesting that merchant adoption for Point of Sale card payments, let alone cryptocurrency payments, isn't massive over there. I have actually heard of some places in Australia receiving a massive tourism boost from adopting cryptocurrency payments at Point of Sale like Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy in Queensland. Looking on TravelByBit, it looks like a fair few merchants in the Brisbane Domestic Airport have adopted cryptocurrency payments at Point of Sale as well!

  13. You are surprised? Or are you delusional?Anyone knows BTC is crap. The Japanese a smart as they know BTC is crap. Lightning Network is not Satoshi Nakamoto mate. Your favourite BitcoinSV is making big moves in Japan. Roger Ver is only one saying it's the centre of the universe for Bitcoin. Understand Beau the Japanese don't like BTC as it's crap.

  14. Hey Beau, thanks for sharing, very interesting. My home state of Maine also has 7 bitcoin ATMs (that I know of) and our population is just over 1 million vs Japan's 126 million!

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