Bitcoin adoption is growing in Akihabara, an area in Japan known as “the world’s largest electrical equipment marketplace.”
Als read: The Japanese are Using Bitcoin More than Expected
World’s Largest Electronics Marketplace
According to Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), Akihabara is “the world’s largest electrical equipment marketplace.” Locally known as Akiba, the area is also a favorite destination for tourists. The Tokyo Convention and Visitors Bureau, the official Tokyo travel guide, describes Akihabara as “well-known as a world-leading electronic district.”
“The area houses thousands of shops selling every technological gadget you can imagine, from computers to gaming consoles and vacuums to DVDs, at rather reasonable prices,” Wikitravel wrote about Akihabara. “This area is also known as the ‘Gamer’s Mecca’ and has in recent times become strongly identified with anime/manga subculture.”
Bitcoin Adoption Grows in Akihabara
While full of high-tech stores, where one might expect to find many bitcoin-loving patrons, only a small number of shops have accepted bitcoin so far. Bitcoin adoption is growing, however, as more stores start to embrace the digital currency.
The largest and most recent store to accept bitcoin in the shopping district is Bic Camera, a leading consumer electronics retailer chain in Japan. The chain opened its first store in Akihabara on Thursday and started accepting bitcoin on the same day using Bitflyer, Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume. This is its third location to accept the digital currency. The first two locations still accept and promote bitcoin today.
Besides Bic Camera, there are some other smaller stores that accept bitcoin in the district. Ark computer shop accepts both bitcoin and the local favorite altcoin called Monacoin for payments starting earlier this month. Ark sells PC parts and game devices. The company partnered with Osaka-based Tech Bureau Co, the parent company of the bitcoin exchange Zaif, in order to accept the cryptocurrency.
In addition to retail stores, there are other types of businesses accepting bitcoin there as well. Dualtap Property Management in Akihabara, for example, recently announced that it is accepting bitcoin through Coincheck, another prominent bitcoin exchange in Japan. The company provides one-stop services involving property development, sales, management and building maintenance internationally and domestically.
Some food establishments also accept bitcoin such as Au Tokyoite, a restaurant and wine bar featuring cheese fondue and Swiss cuisine in Akihabara.
While most stores still do not accept bitcoin directly, many of them accept smart cards such as the popular Suica and Pasmo cards. Both use Sony’s Felica technology. Bitcoin.com recently reported that Felica Marketing is working on turning these smart cards into bitcoin hardware wallets. If launched, customers will have the option to pay with bitcoin at many more stores in Akihabara through their contactless smart cards.