Japan, under its pro-Web3 Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is taking efforts as a community to establish itself as a hotspot for blockchain-related activities. Recently, it has been reported that Japanese e-commerce major Mercari is planning to accept Bitcoin payment in the coming months. Launched in the year 2013, the Tokyo-headquartered company has a monthly active userbase of over 20 million. Hence, if Mercari does start accepting payments in the form of BTC, it could drive-in crypto comfort amongst millions of Japanese residents.
The development was first reported by Japanese publication Nikkei. The portal states that Mercari is expected to accept payments in Bitcoin while selling items in Japan’s fiat currency, the yen. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin is currently equivalent to JPY 6,760, 688 (roughly Rs. 38 lakh). This is not the first time that Mercari has forayed into the Web3 sector. Last year, it launched Mercoin, which is its Tokyo-based blockchain subsidiary.
If Mercari does initiate Bitcoin payments for its ecommerce service, its Mercoin service will serve as an intermediary that transfers Bitcoin as yen to the seller.
Back in March last year, the ecommerce giant had also inaugurated its own Bitcoin exchange. Through this, Mercari lets its users buy Bitcoin from their respective bank accounts. Users can also get sales proceeds and free points that they earned from initiating selling activities on the platform.
The crypto market in Japan has shown a notable growth in the last year, which explains Mercari’s reported plans of experimenting with BTC payments. Towards the end of 2023, it was estimated that over five million Japanese residents held cryptocurrencies. In 2022, the number of active crypto asset accounts in Japan was estimated to be around 3.72 million.
As per the Japanese authorities, crypto technology in itself is not to be blamed for risking the financial stability of crypto investors. Rather, it’s the lack of rules governing the sector that has not been able to make the sector safe to engage with. PM Kishida, regardless, aims to help Japan develop and foster a promotional environment for Web3, blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse in the coming days.
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