Japan’s largest railway company is set to start accepting payments in crypto, a report has revealed. East Japan Railway Company (JR East) passengers will be able to pay for their tickets in four cryptos initially as well as possibly one stablecoin. JR East will partner with Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ) in the project. More support will be added this summer.
According to a report by Japanese media house ANN News, JR East will also partner with DeCurret, crypto exchange that was approved recently by the Japanese Financial Services Agency. The railway company has reportedly invested in the exchange. Its tech partner IIJ has also invested in the exchange and owns a 35% stake.
JR East will enable the crypto payments via its Suica smart cards. These cards are rechargeable and contactless and are used as fare cards on Japanese trains.
Speaking to a Japanese outlet, JR East’s managing executive officer stated:
“JR East’s Suica operates the same settlement business, and is in a position to invest in DeCurret, and is highly expected to develop its services to create a payment infrastructure based on transport infrastructure. We started by charging and using cash, which is a general-purpose payment method, but I think that it will change greatly as the current of ‘cashless’ flows.”
JR East has yet to officially announce which cryptos the new payment system will support. However, since it will partner with DeCurret, it’s presumable that it will support the same cryptos the exchange currently lists. They are Bitcoin Core (BTC), Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash (BCHABC) and XRP. The exchange has also promised to add support for Ethereum in the summer.
J Coin could also become the first stablecoin that the new payment method supports. The stablecoin is developed by the Mizuho Financial Group (MFG), the Tokyo-based financial giant that’s the third-largest in the country. According to an earlier report by Nikkei, MFG announced that it would be the first to pilot Suica payments using its J Coin stablecoin.
While Japan has always pioneered crypto developments, this latest announcement has to be one of the biggest strides. This is because of the wild popularity that Suica smartcards enjoy in Japan. Reports indicate that there are over 75 million Suica cards in Japan. They are also accepted in over 580,000 stores in the country, setting the stage for mass crypto adoption in “The Land of the Rising Sun.”
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.