Japan is known for being one of the most pro-crypto countries in the world, not only on the level of social adoption but also on the government and business scale. Since the introduction of the Payment Services Act in April of 2017, which established the status of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as legal property, the implementation of this payment method has reached unparalleled heights. Only a few days ago, the Japan Railway Group (JR Group) announced their intention to supplement the existing payment options with cryptocurrencies.
JR Group consists of seven commercial companies that are currently dominating the railroad network of Japan having acquired a significant chunk of assets from the Japanese National Railways.
The East Japan Railway Company, also referred to as JR East, is the Group’s largest private company, with the revenue of around $30 billion, that operates throughout the northern and eastern parts of Honshu, the most populous thus busiest area in the entire country.
It is JR East that would reportedly launch the pilot project for allowing commuters and tourists to purchase railway and subway tickets, as well as pay for goods and services at the shop located on the territory of the railway stations, using cryptocurrencies.
However, when declaring their intentions, the representatives of the JR Group failed to specify whether they plan to implement common crypto, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, as an additional payment option or would they choose a safer path and go with stablecoins.
Shortly after the announcement, some new details about the forthcoming novelty have leaked to the surface. Apparently, JR Group is currently in the process of negotiating a partnership agreement with one of the major commercial banks in Japan concerning the joint launch of a cryptocurrency exchange.
It can be considered a smart move on the part of JR Group since they possess all means for establishing such an exchange in order to control all operations, ensure the security, and, most importantly, avoid paying transaction fees to a third-party platform.
Other sources claim that the JR Group is contemplating the possibility of developing a partnership with the FSA-regulated cryptocurrency exchange platform called DeCurret. This conclusion was derived from the statement made by Kazuhiro Tokita, the CEO at DeCurret, who said that they are currently testing the system that will allow the holders of Suica cards to top up their balances by the virtue of cryptocurrencies.
Suica is an electronica card that is linked to an electronic money account. These cards can be used to pay for the railway, subway, and bus tickets as well as in shops and vending machine to buy snacks and newspapers. The Suica cards are issued by the Japan Railway Group; currently, there are more than 70 million cards in circulation which provides a fertile ground for rapid mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
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