Japan Makes Bitcoin Legal Payment Method

While bitcoin has recently suffered some defeats in the U.S. at the hands of the SEC, not all news has been bad news. In a major move for bitcoin legitimacy, Japan has recognized bitcoin as a legal payment method on April 1. (And no, it wasn’t an April Fool’s prank.)

As part of the new law that has “legalized” bitcoin in Japan, the nation’s Financial Services Agency has put capital requirements, along with cybersecurity and operational stipulations, in place for bitcoin exchange, said CoinDesk. Additionally, bitcoin exchanges in Japan will now be required to conduct employee training programs and submit to annual audits.

With this news, the price of bitcoin broke out of its slump post-SEC denial amid growing fears of a hard fork, rallying to rise over $100 in the first three days of April. At the time of writing, one bitcoin was worth $1,135.07, up 3.30 percent from Sunday’s close.

Last month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) denied the second bitcoin-based ETF bid up for consideration — the Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.’s NYSE Arca exchange’s request to list and trade the SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Once again, lack of oversight, regulation and the potential for fraud in the broader bitcoin space worked against the proposed ETF.

The government of Japan’s move to legalize and regulate bitcoin could set a precedent internationally among nations looking to work digital currency regulation into their respective legal and financial systems.

Switzerland has become a highly bitcoin-friendly nation as of late, with FINMA’s plans to clarify regulation, railway ticketing systems’ recent adoption of bitcoin ATM functionality and Ernst & Young’s Switzerland office adding a publicly accessible bitcoin ATM. Additionally, the government of Australia set out to create accounting standards for bitcoin in November of last year, said CoinDesk.

In the U.S., the SEC still sits on one remaining bitcoin ETF proposal, though given the outcomes for the prior two, things look grim for the viability of Grayscale Investments LLC’s Bitcoin Investment Trust.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.

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