With the popularity of crypto assets around the world, is Japan, with its mature subculture, a paradise for bitcoin, or a fertile ground for crypto development? To allay any doubts that are in people’s minds, we invited Sunny, a crypto investor from Japan, this time around to tell his story about bitcoin and KuCoin.
To maintain readability, we will tell the story from Sunny’s perspective.
I’m Sunny. I’m from Japan and live in Tokyo. I graduated from the Business Management School at a four-year university and now currently work in BD for an international trading company. So, my ability to speak foreign languages is fairly proficient, and I can easily communicate in both Chinese and English.
For me, buying Bitcoin should be regarded as following the trend. From the end of 2017 to the beginning of 2018 saw the biggest bull market in Bitcoin’s history; however, judging from the recent market, the ATH of Bitcoin should be broken very soon. In 2018, the acceptance of crypto assets was quite high in Japan, and a lot of information existed about them. As a college student who likes to go out of his comfort zone and try new things (I was still a student then), I am also interested in new technologies, like AI, big data, and blockchain. It was during that time that I became informed about the crypto industry.
1. When mentioning crypto, the first thing that I think about is Bitcoin
As with many places, news about Bitcoin spread far and wide in Japan in 2018. To put it frankly, Bitcoin news could be seen or heard anywhere you went. When you went out, you’d see advertisements for cryptocurrency exchanges on the tram; when you stayed at home watching TV, you’d also see some news about cryptocurrency; when you went to bookstores to read or study, you’d see shelves of books on blockchain and Bitcoin; even coffee shops weren’t spared because of the conversations that revolved around Bitcoin. On the street, you could see many merchants had put up signs indicating you could pay with Bitcoin. At that time, Japan was probably one of the countries with the highest acceptance of cryptocurrencies.
Due to how popular crypto assets were in Japan, many began creating accounts and trading. In such a fervor, even I was swept up. However, considering that Bitcoin may be in a hype, I didn’t rashly enter the market. When I began my cryptocurrency investment journey at the end of 2018, I knew very little about crypto assets. Bitcoin was the most recognizable, so I bought Bitcoin. I still remember that the price of Bitcoin was about $3,000 at that time, which I had bought with my credit card. Not too many exchanges offered support for credit cards, so I still remember it quite vividly.
2. High hopes for blockchain, but tight regulation of cryptocurrencies
In the mere 2 years from 2018 to now, some subtle changes have occurred in Japan’s attitude towards crypto assets. The first is the decline in both Bitcoin’s popularity and price. People no longer talk about Bitcoin, and those merchants that once accepted Bitcoin are no longer accepting it, which has inadvertently led to crypto payments becoming less popular in Japan.
Anyone who has traveled to Japan knows that the country relies on cash payments, and ATMs are ubiquitous. As large numbers of Chinese people travel to Japan, many merchants now support digital payment channels like Alipay and WeChat, yet the proportion of online mobile payments is still quite low, and the large number of ATMs take a lot of funds to maintain. At this critical juncture to the upcoming Olympic Games, a top priority that the Japanese government needs to resolve is how to meet the payment needs for the huge influx of tourists and ensure normal operations of the financial system. Blockchain technology can help solve the Japanese government’s current dilemma, so the government has high expectations for the blockchain.
However, Japan is a country with strict regulations dictating crypto trading. Although I wasn’t able to experience the most prosperous period of cryptocurrency trading for the Mt. Gox exchange, users are still pretty wary due to the serious consequences from the Mt. Gox incident from that year. The Japanese government is particularly concerned about regulating cryptocurrency. Japanese supervision has helped regulate the cryptocurrency investment industry in Japan and boosted investor confidence, but it has also enacted heavy-handed restrictions. For example, the Japanese Financial Bureau has adopted a licensing system, and each crypto exchange needs to apply for one before it can operate in the country. The currencies listed for these exchanges must also have been approved by regulatory authorities. In Japan’s legal exchanges, trading private coins is prohibited. This includes the likes of Monero, Zcash, and more.
3. To me, crypto is a good investment
In Japan, 99% of investors in crypto assets don’t really know what cryptocurrency is but are addicted to it due to its volatility, lack of price limits, and ability to invest 24/7. Young people especially, as many of my friends look positively on crypto assets, but my mother and older relatives do not view it the same as we do. In fact, the tolerance for risk in Japanese investors is still quite high, and so they prefer to do Futures trading instead of Spot trading. Although the risks from Futures trading are higher, they also can offer higher returns.
Bitcoin, to me, is a good financial investment, although its short-term rises and falls are greater than traditional financial products. Over time, Bitcoin’s price is stably trending upward. Coupled with the constant total supply, its long-term value looks even more stable.
By the way, choosing an exchange is very important. I have used 5–6 localized exchanges in Japan, and I wasn’t impressed by any of their UI. The trading fees were also quite high, but they were similar across major exchanges, so I don’t really care. I personally value the trading experience I get. Among the exchanges I’ve used, KuCoin has stood out in this regard. Its design includes so many small yet thoughtful details and designs through its official site and app. The most impressive part is the QR code login, which doesn’t require any passwords, verification codes, or anything. KuCoin has a UI design that I think has the best style. So, I’ve been using KuCoin ever since.
I’m personally quite optimistic about the future of the crypto industry in Japan, and I’m even more optimistic about its development prospects. BTC is the gold of the crypto world, and its value will gradually emerge in the future, so I’ll hold it for a while. As for altcoins, I’ve always kept my distance. If I can find altcoins that are truly valuable, I’ll consider putting them on my watch list.
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“In Crypto Paradise Japan, Bitcoin is Part of Our Lives” | Beautiful People @KuCoin ⑦ was originally published in kucoinexchange on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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