Japanese consumer electronics retailer Bic Camera is expanding its bitcoin payment option to all its outlets in the country, Coindesk has reported, citing local publication Nikkei.
Bic Camera began accepting bitcoin at several of its Tokyo locations in April, after the cryptocurrency was approved by Japanese authorities as a legal payment method. According to Nikkei, the demand for the option has exceeded Bic Camera’s initial expectations, prompting the retailer to consider a nationwide expansion.
Bic Camera partnered for the initial run with Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer, which facilitates bitcoin payments made to the retailer by converting the digital currency into yen upon acceptance.
The roll-out, which could play out as early as this month, is also expected to include some locations of Bic Camera’s subsidiary Kojima.
Bic Camera’s initiative is yet another example of the positive impact the new regulations has had on the Japanese cryptocurrency sector. Tokyo’s efforts to design rules around digital currencies and the exchange services that handle them were prompted by the demise of Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt Gox. It was once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, but it filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after losing some 850,000 bitcoins and $28 million in cash from its bank accounts.
While initially the collapse of Mt Gox had a damaging effect on the cryptocurrency market, it ultimately led to the implementation of the new rules by the Japanese government, which spurred new interest in the sector among Japanese investors. Still, institutional investors and local businesses remain cautious, with only four percent of large and mid-sized firms planning to use bitcoin in the near to medium term, according to a recent poll conducted by Reuters. However, the success of Bic Camera’s programme could potentially encourage more businesses to adopt bitcoin in some way.