Yamada Denki, Japan’s largest consumer electronics retailer, has announced a new partnership with Bitflyer, and the acceptance of payments in Bitcoin on a trial basis. The retail chain will first launch the digital payment services at two of its Yamada Denki Labi stores in Tokyo, but it is planning to roll out this service to all of its stores across the country.
The two stores started to accept Bitcoin on the 27th of January. The partnership with Bitflyer is significant as it is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan by volume.
In the official announcement, Yamada Denki said: “We will implement initiatives to improve bitcoin recognition and usage promotion. With the introduction of bitcoin payment service, we respond to the diverse needs of our customers both in Japan and overseas. We believe that we can provide improved service and convenience.”
Bitflyer added: “Through collaboration with Yamaka Denki, we are contributing to improving the convenience of more customers in Japan and overseas.”
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For the initial trial run, Yamada Denki has chosen two stores in Tokyo (Yamada Denki Labi Shinjuku east exit pavilion and Concept Labi Tokyo) for their strategic importance, as they attract many foreign visitors. This diverse customer base makes these stores a perfect testbed for trying out the digital currency integration.
Initially, there is a limit of 300,000 yen ($2,760) on Bitcoin payments. Bitflyer has also announced that it will give away 500 yen to the first 500 consumers paying with the digital currency using the Bitflyer wallet.
Lately, Bitcoin has been struggling to become a coin that can be used for daily transactions because of its network limitations. High network fees and long delays in transaction approval have become a huge setback for the mass adaptation of Bitcoin. Earlier this month, the North American Bitcoin Conference had to withdraw the Bitcoin payment option for its ticket sale because of these issues – the fee was around $30 at the time. But since then, average fees have gone down significantly – according to bitinfocharts.com, the current average transaction fee is $8.5 (median approx. $5).
Yamada Denki is not the first Japanese electronics store to accept Bitcoin as payment. In April 2017, Bic Camera partnered with Bitflyer to accept Bitcoin, and after 3 months, the retail chain started to accept Bitcoin at all of its 40 stores nationwide.
In South Korea too, a major shopping mall called WeMakePrice has announced that it will now be accepting payment in twelve different kinds of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple.