Japan takes steps to promote cryptocurrencies and bitcoin in particular as it is going to end sales-tax collection on purchases of virtual currencies in the spring.
The proposal is discussed by the Finance Ministry and Financial Services Agency and the final decision will be made after talks by a ruling-coalition tax panel at the end of the year. The initiative is expected to reduce costs for buyers and relieve operators of virtual-currency exchanges of the administrative burden related to the tax.
According to an official of a major bitcoin exchange operator, if the decision is approved, administrative work will be reduced substantially.
Cryptocurrency is a notion from the online world. Bitcoin has earned the reputation of the most widely spread and used digital currency. However, Japan remains to be the only country among the Group of Seven leading industrial economies that taxes bitcoin purchases. Thus, buyers have to pay an 8% consumption tax each time they want to buy bitcoins.
As of September, about 2,500 stores across Japan accepted bitcoin as a means of payment for shopping and dining, according ResuPress, a Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange operator. The tally quadrupled on the year.
Japanese government passed a fund settlement law earlier this year that defines virtual currencies as means of payment. The consumption tax on virtual-currency purchases can be eliminated based on the grounds of this definition.
In order to make bitcoin more mainstream, Japan has also prepared a new reality series. The show BitGirls is intended to make information about the cryptocurrency available and easily understandable for people. Female actresses represent digital currencies during the show and complete various challenges. Viewers can support their favorite players by purchasing her tokens and giving her points to move ahead in the competition.
The show BitGirls starts in November and will be broadcast on Tokyo Metropolitan Television. Producer Takao Asayama comments:
“People have to watch the TV live instead of recording it. Otherwise, viewers could miss a good time to sell or buy.”
Last month, one more piece of news, good for bitcoin enthusiasts, came from Japan. ResuPress, that runs a bitcoin exchange and storage service known as Coincheck, announced that it started accepting bitcoin as payment for electricity charges. The company made an attractive offer promising bills four to six percent cheaper than the competition. ResuPress will continue accepting payments in yen while offering small bitcoin rebates to encourage use of the volatile currency.