One of Japan’s leading retailers of consumer electronics has announced it is to accept bitcoin as a form of payment across its entire network of outlets, in one of the first moves of its kind.
Bic Camera, which has outlets right across Japan, is reported to be rolling out bitcoin as a payment method in all of its stores following earlier trials which proved hugely successful.
Bitcoin payments were first supported at a handful of stores back in April, as part of a trial that proved hugely successful for the company.
Following significant consumer demand for payment in bitcoin, Bic Camera has elected to offer the payment method more widely, in conjunction with the range of other payment methods offered to their customers.
Payments in bitcoin are facilitated through a partnership with bitcoin payment company bitFlyer, which enables the company to convert bitcoin payments into local currency on acceptance.
The move follows rules put in place by the Japanese government, include clarifying the legal standing of bitcoin, designed to ensure the currency could be applied with the same effect as other payment methods in both consumer and commercial transactions.
The government was prompted to act following the collapse of bitcoin exchange Mt Gox in 2014, which has seen its former CEO Mark Karpeles in court this week on charges of embezzlement.
Bic Camera, which sells a range of consumer electricals including fridges, dishwashers and computers, is expected to begin the rollout as early as this month, in what marks an important landmark for the acceptability of bitcoin alongside more traditional payment methods.
A decentralized currency independent of banks and governments, bitcoin is derived from a blockchain, a distributed ledger that stores value and immutably records transactional information.
While blockchain has been accepted as a payment method in online spheres for several years, its increasing acceptance amongst mainstream retailers is a sign of the currency maturing.
With the Bic Camera move driven by consumer demand in Japan, analysts are now projecting similar sentiments elsewhere in the world in the near future.
The success of the rollout will be watched across the world, with several other major retailers poised to become more receptive to receiving payments in digital currencies like bitcoin in future.