A deal between bitcoin exchange Quoine and payments network Econtext will allow more than 20,000 online and eventually physical merchants to accept bitcoin in Japan.
The move essentially allows merchants that already use Econtext's payment processing services in thousands of online stores to accept bitcoin payments without the need for a bitcoin-specific processor. The service will be available for businesses to use today.
Gomez Lozada told CoinDesk:
"For us, it's a pretty significant deal."
According to Gomez Lozada, Econtext has signed up a couple of merchants to accept bitcoin already and is actively approaching others.
The partnership could spur a large increase in the number of bitcoin-accepting merchants in Japan, where adoption has been slower than in other nations due to negative media attention from the Mt Gox insolvency.
How the system works
Quoine's exchange interfaces with the merchant's checkout system, supplying a bitcoin price for the merchant to quote to the customer.
The quoted rate is locked in for both customer and merchant for 30 minutes, even if bitcoin fluctuates wildly in that time. Econtext supplies a payment method selection screen for its merchants to use, which will now feature a bitcoin option and display QR codes customers can use to make the payment.
The company is a recently-acquired subsidiary of Digital Garage Inc, a Japan-based technology investment company. It provides 'settlement services' for businesses, working with payment systems like credit cards, electronic money and loyalty points, as well as convenience stores, banks and communications carrier bills.
Quoine bolsters offering
Known more to professional forex traders than general consumers, Singapore-based Quoine claims to be the highest-volume bitcoin exchange operating in the Japanese yen market.
Gomez-Lozada said the exchange currently averages volumes of between 500 and 1,000 BTC a day, with that number leaping much higher on special days and holiday periods.
"Our growth has been quite significant in terms of volume, it's been quite amazing and we continue to see volumes going up."
As well as bitcoin, Quoine allows accounts in 10 fiat currencies.
Quoine recently enabled the ability to trade bitcoin through other fiat currencies on its platform. While users could previously only trade with their local fiat currency, they may now speculate for profit on another level by trading BTC for other currencies using their original local balance.
The exchange also allows up to 25x margin trading (with bitcoin or fiat collateral), algorithmic trading, Japanese yen futures, interest-earning bitcoin lending and API access.
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