As of April 1, thanks to amendments introduced to the Japanese banking bill, Bitcoin will be recognized as a “property of value” moving forward. Although this still doesn’t put the crypto-currency in the same category as real money, this is a huge leap forward for Bitcoin, and legislative changes in Japan could have a significant impact on the global market.
Significant Movements for Crypto-currency
Bitcoin and other forms of crypto-currency, which are also covered by the Japanese Virtual Currency Act, were initially envisioned as a decentralized, untraceable payment system, and it took them a while to gain wider popularity and acceptance. Initially, Bitcoin was connected to illegal online activities like the drug trade, but during the past few years, it finally managed to leave the obscure world and become a very popular method for online payments.
Online casinos were among the first to open up to the idea of crypto-currency transactions, and these days, there are many gaming providers who let their players deposit, withdraw, and even play in Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. An official legal recognition in a modern country such as Japan is bound to put Bitcoin on the map even more.
Increased Regulation Means Decreased Anonymity
While recognizing Bitcoin as a property of value is a significant step for its inclusion into the mainstream payment channels, it doesn’t come without its (arguably) downsides. One of the things that made Bitcoin so popular was the anonymity connected to transactions, keeping personal information of those involved in transactions private for the most part.
With the Virtual Currency Act, this is about to change, as crypto-currency exchanges in the country are required to introduce strict KYC (Know Your Customers) procedures, whereby users will have to provide a lot of background information and confirm their identity by uploading their personal documents (photo ID, etc.).
Exchanges will also have to adhere to much stricter rules, providing their customers with full information about the company and keeping all user funds segregated from the company funds at all times.