The Phaserl


The Biggest Bitcoin News No One Is Talking About

by Doug Casey, Casey Research:

On August 1, 2015, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested Mark Karpelès, the CEO of a major financial exchange. The police accused Karpelès of embezzling $350 million.

Believe it or not, this arrest led to the biggest bitcoin breakthrough no one is talking about today.

You see, on April 1, a new payments law went into effect in Japan. And what’s significant about the law is that it recognizes bitcoin as a legal method of payment.

Let me repeat: Japan now recognizes bitcoin as a legal method of payment.

This is huge news. And it’s getting almost no play in the media.

Growing Pains

Mark Karpelès was the CEO of Mt. Gox, what was once a major bitcoin exchange.

He got into the business in 2011 and built it up to become the largest bitcoin exchange in the world. At its height in 2013, it was processing 70% of all bitcoin transactions.

And that’s when the troubles began.

You see, Mt. Gox had issues with regulators that affected its partnerships and its customers as well. Mt. Gox ended up suspending or freezing many customer accounts.

Mt. Gox halted withdrawals on several occasions. But it also repeatedly said that it would resume normal operations in short time.

That never happened. And on February 28, 2014, the company filed for bankruptcy and closed its website.

While many are familiar with the Mt. Gox story, what most people don’t realize is that Mt. Gox was based in Tokyo.

And ever since then, the Japanese have associated bitcoin with Mt. Gox.

That’s why it’s so surprising that Japan has become the first country to recognize bitcoin as a legal method of payment.

Rewriting Bitcoin’s Future

Ironically, it was the Mt. Gox debacle of 2014 that led to the new Japanese payment law today.

The event triggered an intense debate between financial authorities and the cryptocurrency industry. And Japan’s Financial System Council got to work drafting new legislation. By December 2015, it was ready for review.

The National Diet (the lower and the upper houses of Japan’s legislature) approved the bill in late May 2016.

On April 1, 2017, the law went into effect.

This Is Huge News

This is a big event for Japan. And an even bigger event for the world at large.

First, it’s going to cause a bitcoin explosion in Japan.

Right now, roughly 5,000 merchants accept bitcoin in Japan. Because of this new law, that number is about to explode.

You see, AirREGI, the point-of-sale application for the Japanese retail conglomerate Recruit Holdings, will soon add bitcoin payments. AirREGI is used by over 260,000 retail locations.

What’s more is that AirREGI is compatible with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s Alipay. So the millions of Chinese tourists who go to Japan every year will be able to use bitcoin.

Bic Camera has added bitcoin payments as well. It’s a huge electronics retailer, like the Best Buy of Japan. And folks are already making purchases with bitcoin. You can check out a customer paying with bitcoin at Bic Camera here.

Japan’s largest internet service provider, the GMO Internet Group, is getting in on the game, too. It’s already an investor in Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange, bitFlyer. And now it plans on developing a wallet service to bring bitcoin to all of Japan.

And let’s not forget that Japan will be hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. It’s the type of event that could put bitcoin in the international spotlight.

In other words, Japan’s new law is huge. It legitimizes bitcoin in an international way.

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