Japan is set to begin recognizing bitcoin as a legal method of payment starting tomorrow.
The country's legislature passed a law, following months of debate, that brought bitcoin exchanges under anti-money laundering/know-your-customer rules, while also categorizing bitcoin as a kind of prepaid payment instrument.
It's a debate that began in the wake of the collapse of Mt Gox, the now-defunct bitcoin exchange that shuttered after months of growing complications and, in the end, revelations of insolvency and alleged fraud.
According to Japan’s Financial Services Agency, that law goes into effect on 1st April, putting in place capital requirements for exchanges as well as cybersecurity and operational stipulations. In addition, those exchanges will also be required to conduct employee training programs and submit to annual audits.
Yet there may be more work to come in this area.
For example, Nomura Research Institute's Yasutake Okano indicated in a May 2016 report that other Japanese laws may need to change to account for the tech, including the Banking Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.
Reports indicate that other groups in Japan are moving to plug some of those gaps as well.
According to a report from Nikkei, the Accounting Standards Board of Japan decided earlier this week to begin developing standards for digital currencies like bitcoin. Its work mirrors other efforts being undertaken elsewhere, including Australia, which began pushing for such standards late last year.
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