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Japan Bitcoin The Almighty Buck Your Rights Online

Japan Considers Treating Bitcoin As Conventional Currency (thestack.com) 106

An anonymous reader writes: Regulators in Japan are considering officially recognizing bitcoins and other digital currencies as valid methods of payment. The Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA) is in the process of deciding whether to make legislative revisions to regulation that currently regards virtual currencies as objects rather than traditional forms of payment. Under the new proposal, consumers will be able to purchase goods and services using bitcoin and other digital currencies, and also use them as an alternative to legal tender through purchases or trades. The new definition will be submitted during the current session of the Diet, Japan's legislature, which concludes on 1st June this year.
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Japan Considers Treating Bitcoin As Conventional Currency

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  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @02:24PM (#51576035)
    and more tax
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @02:28PM (#51576055)

    Wasn't the whole point of digital currencies to avoid the need for a government to bless (and therefore control) a particularly unit of money?

    >> consumers will be able to purchase goods and services using bitcoin and other digital currencies

    I believe this is already possible - no government blessing necessary, thank you.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @02:33PM (#51576085) Homepage

      Wasn't the whole point of digital currencies to avoid the need for a government to bless (and therefore control) a particularly unit of money?

      But, seriously, whoever believed that it would be magically exempted from government attention?

      I always thought the whole "yarg, it's digital therefore free from teh government" to be ridiculous. Sure, smear yourself in unicorn poop, it has magical properties.

      There was simply never going to be a scenario in which governments went "well, dammit, it's digital and they say it's exempt from us, guess there's nothing we can do".

      Anybody who believed that was delusional.

      • You're missing one small detail:

        Citizens comprise the government.

        If citizens demand that the government has no jurisdiction of digital currency eventually the government must bends it will to the masses.

        The problem isn't the government; it's all the spineless people who allow the government to dictate and micro-manage the citizen's live.

        • by slashping ( 2674483 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @04:08PM (#51576763)

          If citizens demand that the government has no jurisdiction of digital currency eventually the government must bends it will to the masses.

          You're so naive, it's cute.

        • Actually, I think the Government comprises Citizens...

          • by Anonymous Coward

            In Soviet Russia, government comprises you!

        • What if all those people have strong spines, they just disagree with you about what the laws should be and how the government should be run? What then?

          You seem to understand exactly one half of the statement, "Citizens comprise the government." You go off the rails when you wave your hands about the citizens making "demands." They would do that by voting, or by filing a lawsuit if they believe the law already supports their position. Understanding of the first half of your comment renders the second half mo

        • false; a government controlled by, in the pockets of and in debt to a banking cartel does not follow the desires of its citizens. examples: USA, UK.

          your childlike naivety is humorous.

          • Just because a government has become a (corrupt) oligarchy currently doesn't mean it has to _stay_ that way.

            The point is, the government "gets away" with corporacy due to apathy of the people. In other words, the people get exactly what they deserve.

            If people want things to change they need to start holding their elected officials accountable. When politicians actually have gasp, integrity, and spend more time on fixing the problem instead of bad-mouthing the competition things will change.

            To simply give

            • what happens when the corruption is legal? accountability to law is then meaningless, there is no mechanism to deal with wrongdoing. And the two party system at federal level runs a corporate bitch on both tickets.

        • So, what's spineless about not making a special case in the laws to exempt bitcoin from all regulation?

          Bitcoin has value, because you can get valuable stuff for it. This has certain implications. If I run a business and get paid in bitcoin, I have to supply some sort of accounting to the IRS. If I buy $500 of bitcoin, and it doubles in value, and I sell it for $1000, I've made $500 in profit, and that has to be accounted for somehow. If I cash in over $10K of bitcoin in the US, the government needs t

      • There was simply never going to be a scenario in which governments went "well, dammit, it's digital and they say it's exempt from us, guess there's nothing we can do".

        Anybody who believed that was delusional.

        Delusion is practically part of the Bitcoin spec it's so deeply embedded in the True Believer.

        And it's really amusing to see someone (the grandparent) who thinks the idea was to be free of governments, when we have been subjected to so many articles where the True Believers were trying to convince us th

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Intention doesn't indicate reality. Bitcoin isn't even a currency; it's a commodity and, like gold, makes a terrible currency.

      • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @02:43PM (#51576131)

        >> like gold, makes a terrible currency

        You lost me there. For most of recorded history, gold has made a terrific currency - the kind you can power regional empires on.

        • yeah, try buying a Snickers bar with gold buillon and see how good it is. Currency needs fungibility as well as value.

          • Gold by itself is a commodity. But it IS money if it's been minted by a sovereign government; the Golden Eagle coin or the Krugerrand. Now, depending on the value of the metal, both parties may either accept it for face value, or its spot price (commodity value).

            • When the "Golden Eagle" is your go-to example, your argument might be self-refuting; see also: "the exception that proves the rule."

              Also note that for most of recorded history, coins haven't had an abstract numerical "face value," generally the price of some basic necessity was declared by the government in the context of a named coin, thereby setting the value of the coin, and the value of already-issued coins would change with that spot-price based on the current politics of the realm.

          • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @02:54PM (#51576207)

            >> try buying a Snickers bar with gold buillon

            Well that's a bad example, since I'm pretty sure I could walk out of my office and find dozens of people who would trade any amount of bullion for a single Snickers bar. A better example would be "try to buy something from Amazon with bullion"...but the statement "try to buy something from Amazon with crumpled dollar bills" would be as equally ludicrous.

            Are we at least agreed that only digital currencies (whether Bitcoin or dollars) are the only real/complete currencies today (due to fungibility)?

          • by slashping ( 2674483 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @03:36PM (#51576521)
            Bitcoin fixes the biggest problem with gold: gold is hard to divide into smaller bits, and hard to make sure it's real and the correct amount.
          • I don't think you know the definition of the word 'fungible.'
          • by JazzLad ( 935151 )
            I will sell you as many Snickers bars as you want for 1oz of gold buillon (each).
        • No, gold was used as a currency for most of recorded history. It was used as a currency in poor societies where the majority of trade was barter, and where actual money was restricted to a rich elite class who traded in a symbol to remind them that their glorious empire favored them and could make them poor.

          Gold isn't just deflationary, as the naive analysis would suggest--as we find ways to produce a thing with less labor, its representative buying power falls, as it now represents 1/10,000,000 of the p

        • For most of recorded history, gold has made a terrific currency - the kind you can power regional empires on.,/quote>

          Gold has served as a currency adequately at times (and poorly at others) but I dispute the "terrific" part of your thesis. There are very good reasons why it is no longer the basis of any modern currency.

        • For most of recorded history, gold has made a terrific currency

          For most recorded history, people crapped in holes out in the back yard.

          So what's your point? For most recorded history, if you wanted to move to a different town, you had to carry all your gold with you in a big sack because there were no banks. For most recorded history, most people didn't have any gold, and thus, didn't have any wealth.

        • For most of recorded history, gold was not generally used as currency. Even famous examples of historical gold coins that were currency, if you look at trade in the period you'll find out that gold was not the standard currency by any stretch, and it would not even be spendable for most transactions that would have been taking place. This should be immediately obvious just by the large size of historical gold coins, and the complete lack of pinhead sized ones.

          Armchair historians need a solid interest in rea

        • For most of recorded history, the only competition to gold as a currency was chickens and goats. Granted, gold did very well compared to those.

          • by Lehk228 ( 705449 )
            i disagree, trading volume was immensely higher with the bartered goods, and a shortage of goods would mean disaster for the affected area, while a shortage of gold usually meant one elite was about to bufu another.
      • Bitcoin is currency. What it's not is money; meaning Bitcoin can't be passed from person to person with liquidity and expressed with a self-explanatory denomination.

        • Money is a synonym for currency.
        • by davidwr ( 791652 )

          Actually, it's both currency (sort of) and money. Currency typically means paper money (or any "hard, tangible" money other than coinage - some currencies are made of cloth or plastic). As opposed to coinage, bank accounts, negotiable-as-cash instruments (think "checks," especially in the old days when 3rd-party and "4th/5th/etc-party" checks were common).

          BC is both money and a currency. An individual "amount" of BitCoin is currency in that you can store it in a wallet or print it out on paper, it's "non-

      • Bitcoin isn't even a currency; it's a commodity and, like gold, makes a terrible currency.

        Uh huh.

        See, the thing is, commodities ALWAYS have utility beyond that of acting as money/currency. If you can tell me what a bitcoin can be used for besides money/currency, I'll believe it is a commodity.

        • Well you can claim to have bitcoins and sound pompous. You can display your bitcoin holdings on your phone. Isn't that what women do with useless rocks?

          A commodity is a tradeable object--it's a good. Wheat, dirt, rocks, liquid nitrogen, bull semen. Bitcoin doesn't represent ownership of a company, so it's not a stock; and it's not issued by a central bank (even gold bullion was stamped by an official mint), so it's not a currency. It's manufactured by individuals using their own resources, and then

        • How do you classify old baseball cards? They don't really have any utility, but they are worth money on the market.

    • No currency actually needs governmental "blessing". Currency is anything that people agree on as a means to represent a value. That which is used as currency only needs a few qualities, the most important one being that generating or producing it has to take more effort than the value it represents. No, scarcity isn't even required. This holds true from commodity money to fiat money. Generating it either has to be more costly or risky than "earning" it and whatever has this quality qualifies as money.

      In the

      • what matters is whether someone else deems it valuable enough to accept it as payment

        You also need an open market to trade, and government blessing certainly has an effect there.

        • If the market is truly open, governmental blessing of any currency matters little. On a true open market you can use whatever currency buyer and seller agree on.

          • If the market is truly open, governmental blessing of any currency matters little.

            The reality is that government controls the market.

        • You don't need much of an open market, certainly not a government-blessed one. If I can buy stuff for toenail clippings, and other people think the toenail clippings are valuable because they can buy stuff, then toenail clippings are money.

          • And if the government then says that toenail clippings are unhygienic and can cause diseases, and makes trading them illegal, then it's not going to be a very popular form of money.
      • Agreed, a currency shouldn't need to be blessed... but it is a lot better than being outright banned, or causing someone to wind up on lists because one uses that currency. Is this a step forward? Who knows. Since BitCoin transactions leave a definite trail behind forever and a day, there might be more criminals using the BTC rope to hang themselves if the currency is more mainstream.

    • Wasn't the whole point of digital currencies to avoid the need for a government to bless (and therefore control) a particularly unit of money?

      I'm not sure about those other digital currencies, but the whole point of bitcoin was to be able to process transactions without the need for trusted intermediaries. Government's role (or lack therof) didn't enter into it.

      • by davidwr ( 791652 )

        the whole point of bitcoin was to be able to process transactions without the need for trusted intermediaries. Government's role (or lack therof) didn't enter into it.

        We aren't talking about Japan backing BC, we are talking about how the government of Japan will treat BC transactions for taxation and other regulatory purposes.

        If they treat it as a commodity, it may be subject to tariffs, sales and other goods-and-services-transaction taxes, and the like. If they treat it like a currency, then it may be subject to currency-transaction-reporting laws and the like.

        If I buy $10,000 worth of candy and sell it the next day for $10,100, that's typically going to result in sale

    • Government could certainly try to stop it, for instance by making any service illegal that converts bitcoin into fiat currencies, or make it illegal to buy or sell in bitcoin directly.
      • Unless the law were specifically against bitcoin, it would have some drastic effects. Nobody wants a law that will make it illegal to sell or trade commodities.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 )

      Wasn't the whole point of digital currencies to avoid the need for a government to bless (and therefore control) a particularly unit of money?

      Only to those whose grasp of reality is a bit tenuous. There have always been currencies not controlled by a particular government, not to mention bullion and other de-facto currencies. The fact that it isn't a fiat currency is irrelevant. There is absolutely no chance that governments will not get involved in regulating anything resembling a currency. Anyone who thought otherwise is delusional.

    • Some countries require payments be made with a recognized currency, most do not.

      Your statement is silly, because it totally ignores the needs of the person using the currency. Maybe you don't care about the gubermint, but that doesn't tell you how to predict the results of your actions.

      Here in the US, anything you use as a currency is already recognized by the government. There is no whitelist or approval needed, but simply using something as currency invokes various laws such as anti-counterfeiting laws to

  • makes sense (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    the venn diagrams of bitcoin, katana and anime enthusiasts are basically a single circle

  • Good idea. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 )
    Bitcoin should not be anonymous. All bitcoin exchanges should be like banks, or part of existing banks, and tracked like every other financial transaction, subject to examination by lan enforcement when a proper warrant is issued. Here in the U.S. they're talking about getting rid of $100 bills and perhaps cash completely, how about you regulate bitcoin first, considering how easy it is to launder money using it? Stop punishing the common law-abiding citizen and go after the real problems first.

    Posted as A
    • subject to examination by lan enforcement

      My god, it's the network police.

      Posted as AC because FUCK YOU, I'm tired of your cunts and your shit attitudes.

      Surprise!!

      • I'm more or less just having a shitty day, know what I mean? Probably should have stayed in bed and called in sick.

        Just for the record: Only some of you out there are cunts. The rest of you are a-ok in my book. :-)
        • "I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

          --Bilbo Baggins

    • ..and seeing as how I managed to pull a Sexconker move (failed to check the AC box), I guess I have to put up with the shit attitudes from cunts anyway. Such is life.. or war, as the case may be. FML.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      BitCoin isn't anonymous. Every transaction is recorded and public data. It is pseudononymous, just like the name "kheldan" on Slashdot. When someone attempts to actually use their BitCoins for some purpose other than trading between wallets for personal entertainment, there is a link between the wallet and an exchange of goods or services. Some of the more capably paranoid can do a passable job of not linking their transactions to their legal identity. (similar to how many Slashdotters manage to avoid

    • Bitcoin should not be anonymous.

      Like it or not, BitCoin may be anonymous, but it is 100% tracked. What's generally unknown is who owns which wallet, but EVERY transaction is tracked FOREVER in the coin's block chain so every transaction is tracked. Once you put a wallet to a person, the whole transaction history for that wallet is available.

      Those who fear having their finances known need to seriously consider that BitCoin may be anonymous, but as soon as somebody figures out your wallet id which you need to share with anybody you trans

      • but as soon as somebody figures out your wallet id

        That's why you don't keep all your bitcoin in a single wallet. I make a new wallet every time someone wants to send me bitcoin, so until I spend it, there's only a single input into the wallet. And when you spend part of the wallet(s), you can send the change to a new wallet.

      • as somebody figures out your wallet id which you need to share with anybody you transfer a coin from or to, they can go get your entire history

        That's not how Bitcoin works. You can have any number of wallets, and most Bitcoin clients support the new "HD" (Hierarchical Deterministic) wallet format, where many "IDs" are generated from a master key using a one-way function. A single key can provide an infinite stream of distinct addresses, one for each transaction. Without the master key there is nothing to link these addresses together. You don't give people "your wallet ID", you give them an address unique to that one transaction. When you spend th

    • by davidwr ( 791652 )

      Bitcoin should not be anonymous. All bitcoin exchanges should be like banks, or part of existing banks, and tracked like every other financial transaction

      When I walk into my neighborhood bank and ask for change for a $100, they don't ask for ID.

      If I go to the effort to put on a good disguise first, as long as I look like I'm not wearing a disguise they don't blink an eye.

      Now if only I could figure out a way to fool the heatmap-reading cameras into thinking I'm someone else....

      By the way, until the terrorism-inspired (well, that's what THEY say) "know your customer" laws, American banks were a lot more lax about requiring ID on passbook savings accounts. Now

  • Japan was the home base for Mt. Gox. [wikipedia.org]. Maybe this is fallout from that fiasco.
  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Wednesday February 24, 2016 @03:17PM (#51576357)

    Japan is already forcing people to horde cash with their negative interest rates.

    http://fortune.com/2016/02/23/... [fortune.com]

    Something like bitcoin could prove disastrous for their banking system.

    • It's not cheap. A very small negative interest rate is still less costly than renting a safe place to store cash and insuring it against loss, particularly for large amounts.

      If I were in Japan and I had lots of cash, I would be looking at "investing" money I didn't need in the next 2-3 months in a "market basket" of Japan's equivalent of money-market accounts, commercial paper, short-term high-quality bonds, and in market-baskets of currencies of other countries, in the hopes that the ups and downs of thes

      • Well there is the thing with bitcoin. It has the advantages of a bank account. You can use it for electronic payments and transfers. You don't incur the negative interest rate from letting the bank hold your money . For Japan it's just one more way to bypass the banking system. If I were them I would be very worried this would contract their money supply creating more deflationary pressure.

        • For Japan it's just one more way to bypass the banking system.

          To be a good substitute for a bank deposit, something must be liquid and it must have either no loss of value or an acceptable upper limit on the loss of value compared to putting money in the bank.

          Bitcoin is just too volatile. If I put 10,000 Yen in the bank now then withdraw it in 6 months, how much is it going to be worth? Almost certainly at least 9,900 Yen. If I buy 10,000 Yen worth of Bitcoin, how much will it be worth 6 months from now? Maybe 20,000 Yen, maybe 5,000 Yen, who knows?

  • Sure, they are physical objects, but so are pieces of paper (er, cloth in some countries) and shiny base-metal coins.

    If you are going to treat BC like currency, then treat "commodity" metal like currency and, for that matter, allow anyone who can guarantee the safety of their safe and insure it against theft or destruction the option of "printing" paper- or electronic-currency that is denominated in physical quantities of gold or silver (e.g. a "pre-mined" e-currency controlled by a bank or other institutio

  • If I can't roll it up and use it to snort a line, then it's not money.

  • Will the Dogecoin mascot [wikipedia.org] mean it will become popular in Japan?

    If you think Dogecoin will become popular in Japan, increasing its value, send 50 Dogecoins to D9scjyKETYZesSmhjCR4vye4bc6iDqXPd6.

    If you think Dogecoin will NOT become popular in Japan, doing nothing to its value, send 100 Dogecoins to D9scjyKETYZesSmhjCR4vye4bc6iDqXPd6.

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