Yamada Denki Now Accepts Bitcoin

January 31, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

If you were to describe Yamada Denki as the Japanese equivalent of Best Buy, you likely wouldn’t be too far off. Oh, sure, there are some differences, but Yamada Denki is at last report one of Japan’s biggest consumer electronics retailers, and in that sense, they’re very much similar. Now, imagine what you’d think if Best Buy suddenly decided to take bitcoin as payment. You can convert that to a similar feeling, because Yamada Denki recently announced that it was doing just that.

Well, not all over; Yamada Denki announced that two of its stores—thanks to a partnership with the bitFlyer cryptocurrency exchange—would now accept bitcoin as payment. The stores are located in the Shinjuku district—a region popular with foreign visitors—and a location near the main Tokyo business district.

Yamada Denki has set up a settlement limit of 300,000 yen—$2,748 US, or about 0.249 bitcoin as of this writing—per account, which should help make the whole thing easier to work with. The new policy is geared toward “…provid(ing) improved service and convenience” for shoppers both in Japan and overseas, reports note.

Not noted in Yamada Denki’s own remarks, however, is the development that this may be an increasing necessity just to keep up competitively; Bic Camera, another major Japanese consumer electronics retailer, put up its own partnership with bitFlyer back in April 2017, and in July 2017, planned to ramp that up to all of its stores nationally. Department store chain Marui brought out a trial bubble at a Shinjuku location as well.

Essentially, Yamada Denki’s own move to accept bitcoin comes on the tail of several others who have announced the exact same thing. This is a big deal, certainly, but since it comes after several other firms already doing likewise, the impact is somewhat lost here. This is less an innovation on Yamada Denki’s part and more a move to preserve current market share by not having those customers interested in paying in bitcoin wandering away to Bic Camera instead.

Still, whatever the reason, it’s clear that Japan is becoming an increasingly robust haven for cryptocurrency users. Whether this will translate into wider acceptance, or higher values for the coins in question, is unclear. One day, we may all be able to buy our next washer in Dogecoin.