By Joseph Young
Over the past few months, through previous coverages, Cointelegraph emphasized the importance of the Japanese Bitcoin industry to the Bitcoin exchange market in Asia.
Earlier this week, many analysts and financial news networks including CNBC have noted that Japan has been a driving factor in the recent rally of Bitcoin price.
Japan and Bitcoin’s love story
Throughout the past two weeks, the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market demonstrated a rapid growth rate, overtaking the Chinese and US Bitcoin exchange markets in daily trading volume.
Although Japan only briefly became the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange market, it remains the second largest market behind the US, backed by rising demand from institutional and retail investors.
Earlier this year, the Japanese government fully legalized Bitcoin as an official currency and a store of value. Since then, the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market has appealed to a wide range of investors and traders.
Also trading of Bitcoin in Japanese yen has accounted for 46 percent of total trade volume worldwide, while the US only accounted for 25 percent.
Japan remains as one of the few countries that have adopted Bitcoin as a digital currency. The country’s largest companies and conglomerates including retail giant Bic Camera and Peach Airlines have been offering Bitcoin as an official payment method and in the upcoming months, hundreds of thousands of merchants, restaurants, bars, cafes and stores are expected to integrate Bitcoin.
More importantly, leading Japanese Bitcoin exchanges such as bitFlyer and multi-billion dollar technology conglomerates like GMO Group have also started to target institutional and retail investors by providing high liquidity and regulated channels to invest in.
A vital market for Asian Bitcoin traders, institutional investors
In the US, Coinbase and Gemini just began to target institutional investors in August. Coinbase secured a $100 mln funding round to create a more efficient infrastructure for institutional investors, while Gemini partnered with CBOE, the largest options exchange in the US, to increase liquidity for large-scale Bitcoin investors and traders.
As Gemini founder and CEO Tyler Winklevoss noted:
“Gemini’s key concerns in the cryptocurrency ecosystem have always been security, compliance and regulatory oversight. By working with the team at CBOE, we are helping to make Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies increasingly accessible to both retail and institutional investors.”
Within the Japanese Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets, institutional and retail investors have expressed their interest towards the digital currency as early as 2016. With necessary infrastructures in place, mainstream adoption of Bitcoin has drastically increased in the country led by major companies and financial institutions.
However, the Japanese market has dismissed analysts and traders in the past due to its zero-fee policy. Analysts claimed that Japan, similar to China, has demonstrated fake and manipulated trading volumes. In late 2016, the Chinese central bank prohibited the implementation of zero-fee policy to prevent market manipulation and fake or manufactured trading volumes. Currently, Japanese exchanges do not require fees for orders and trades.
The case that trading volumes coming from the Japanese Bitcoin exchange market are inaccurate can certainly be made. But, due to its efficient and cost-effective trading infrastructure, Japan has attracted investors from China and South Korea, serving as a vital market for Asian Bitcoin traders and institutional investors.