Japan’s experience in the regulation and utilization of cryptocurrencies and willingness to embrace new technologies could provide it with a significant competitive advantage against regional peers when their use becomes more widespread, including within the region’s casinos and integrated resorts.
The issue of proper utilization of cryptocurrencies was highlighted during a panel session titled “Spotlight on blockchain and crypto regulation in Asia” during iGaming Asia Congress at Studio City, Macau on Wednesday.
While many nations remain unsure how to proceed when it comes to the regulation of cryptocurrency, Japan’s Financial Services Agency has been issuing licenses to cryptocurrency exchanges for more than a year now with 16 exchanges currently licensed. That’s despite the high profile Mt Gox case which saw 850,000 bitcoins worth around US$450 million at the time stolen from the Tokyo-based exchange in 2014.
“Japan is heading in a very, very good direction right now,” said panelist Bryan Wu, Co-Founder of Bitwork Asia, who noted there remains a “big population acceptance” of crypturrency in Japan despite Mt Gox and other scandals.
Such broad acceptance could be key to the broader use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method in Japan’s IRs.
For Jose Alvares, founding partner of CA Lawyers, this experience “shows something very interesting – that Japan is willing to learn from their mistakes. When you invest in new ventures, when you are developing new ventures, you’re bound to make mistakes, you’re bound to suffer losses but they’re willing to go beyond to really promote this new idea.”
Alvares also called for further regulation in the sector.
“I do believe we need some [more widespread] regulation,” he said. “What Japan is doing is bringing the stability components of blockchain into cryptocurrencies and that allows it to develop the markets.
“If you are willing to take risks you will reap the rewards.”