Japanese retailers Bic Camera and Recruit Lifestyle to start accepting bitcoin payments

Major Japanese retailers to embrace bitcoin payments

Bic Camera will be the first major retailer in Japan to launch the bitcoin payment service, though the service is already available in 4,500 outlets in Japan, including bars, cafes and restaurants, according to local reports.

Japan is viewed as lagging behind other countries in the availability of the bitcoin payment method at retail stores and elsewhere, and in "fintech", the combination of financial services with information technology.

Bic Camera will accept a bitcoin payment of up to ¥100,000 per transaction.

The step will enable over 260,000 outlets across the country to start accepting bitcoin. Today's report revealed that two of Japan's largest retailer groups are ready to begin accepting Bitcoin, and have partnered with Bitcoin exchanges to facilitate the process.

Meanwhile, Recruit Lifestyle, the retail support arm of human resources company Recruit Holdings, has teamed up with bitcoin exchange Coincheck to introduce bitcoin as a payment option at shops that have adopted its point-of-sale app, AirRegi.

Japan revised its law past year to regulate the dealings of virtual currencies including bitcoin, so as to prevent their use in terrorism or money laundering and protect the interests of the owners. Businesses interested in introducing the new payment option can choose to install the bitcoin payment system alone.

The electronics chain Bic Camera has entered into a partnership with bitFlyer to start conducting trials of the Bitcoin payment option. Those purchases will also receive reward points using the same model applied to cash payments. As the payment processor, Coincheck will convert the bitcoins into yen to then transfer the fiat funds to the store.

The announcement comes during a period of heavy activity for Japan's bitcoin market, which recently saw the recognition of bitcoin as a legal means of payment by the government.

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