Japan’s biggest railway and subway operator, the Japan Railways Group (JR Group), is reportedly looking to add cryptocurrency payment options for its users, in a move that could see millions of Japanese individuals use cryptos to pay for transportation.
According to mainstream commercial news network ANN News, the JR Group could establish cryptocurrency payment options through a partnership with a major bank, that could also see it launch a cryptocurrency company, believed to be an exchange.
The new system would see JR Group patrons to top up their Suica payment cards – prepaid e-money cards that allow them to pay for both goods and services in Japan – with cryptocurrencies. Data released by the company shows that, as of March of last year, 70 of these cards were issued.
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According to Cointelegraph Japan, the cryptocurrency exchange would be called Decurret, and has already been licensed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) to operate in the country. It could start trading on April 16, with bitcoin, bitcoin cash, litecoin, and XRP trading pairs.
Ether trading is said to be scheduled for June or July, and bitcoin and the Japanese yen are going to be used as the platform’s base currencies. The move could be seen as a way for the JR Group to avoid paying a third-source platform for transaction fees, and instead add a new income source to its portfolio.
Japan’s Growing Cryptocurrency Scene
Despite last year’s bear market, which saw the crypto ecosystem lose over 85% of its value, Japan’s cryptocurrency scene seemingly hasn’t stopped growing. The country has made bitcoin a legal payment method in April of 2017, and since then new retailers have started welcoming cryptos.
As reported, Japan’s largest online retailer Rakuten – seen by some as a local version of Amazon – has considered introducing cryptocurrency payments, and is set to launch its own cryptocurrency exchanges after receiving approval from the FSA.
Bic Camera, the country’s largest electronics retailer, has been accepting bitcoin for over a year, and has reported an increase in bitcoin usage during last year’s bear market.