From Peach Aviation to 100,000+ Stores
Peach Aviation Ltd announced last week that it will be the first Japanese airline to accept bitcoin for tickets. Peach is Japan’s first Low-Cost Carrier (LCC) and is majority owned by the country’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd (ANA).
To accept bitcoin, the low-cost airline has partnered with Bitpoint Japan Co, a bitcoin exchange and payments startup founded on March 3, 2016. In addition to allowing Peach to accept bitcoin for flight tickets, the companies are working together to add bitcoin payment options to souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotels at travel destinations. Furthermore, “we will jointly install bitcoin ATMs where customers can withdraw cash from bitcoin,” their partnership agreement reveals.
On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Bitpoint is “planning to give hundreds of thousands of Japanese retail outlets the ability to accept the digital currency.” The company’s president, Genki Oda, said, “We’re holding discussions with a retail-related company,” adding that:
We’re also talking to a big convenience store operator about using it [bitcoin] … By going through a company providing payment terminal services to shops, we have the possibility of increasing its use at one stroke. It’s easier than talking to lots of individual retailers.
Bitpoint currently has ties with several retailers and plans to expand that number, Oda told the publication. The aim is to promote the use of bitcoin in retail stores instead of as a speculative investment, he detailed.
Oda also runs Bitpoint’s parent company, Remixpoint Inc., a publicly-traded conglomerate with a market value of about 21 billion yen ($189 million).
400,000+ Stores Could Accept Bitcoin
Since April 1, when the Japanese government started recognizing bitcoin as a legal method of payment, a slew of Japanese companies have started considering accepting bitcoin. The first major retailer to do so following the government’s move was Bic Camera, one of the country’s biggest electronics retailers. The company partnered with Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitflyer, to accept bitcoin.
Also in April, another bitcoin exchange, Coincheck, announced that it had been working with Recruit Lifestyle to bring bitcoin payments to over 260,000 stores by this summer. Claiming to hold 99% of the bitcoin payment market share, Coincheck said that about 5,000 stores already accept the digital currency using its payments system.
Then last week, Bitflyer CFO, Midori Kanemitsu, independently told Nikkei that the number of stores accepting bitcoin “is expected to rise to 300,000 or so in 2017.”
If Kanemitsu’s estimation is added to Monday’s announcement by Bitpoint, then the total number of stores that could start accepting bitcoin soon could rise to 400,000+.
Do you think Bitpoint will successfully add bitcoin payments to 100,000+ stores? Also, how many stores do you think will accept bitcoin in Japan this year? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bic Camera, Peach Aviation, Bitflyer, Bitpoint, and Remixpoint
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