Tech Bureau Raises $835K, Debuts New Bitcoin Exchange in Japan

With $835,000 investment from Nippon Technology Venture Partners (NTVP), Tech Bureau Inc. today added a Bitcoin exchange to its cryptocurrency lineup called Zaif.

Already the world’s largest Monacoin exchange, Zaif believes it has the potential to become the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan.

NTVP General Partner Kazutaka Muraguchi commented

Cryptocurrencies are the key to a worldwide financial revolution that is taking place right now. Tech Bureau could become the hub that connects Japan to the global cryptocurrency market.

When compared with other countries, Japan has been slow to adopt crypto currencies such as Bitcoin. Tech Bureau’s CEO, Takao Asayama, intends to change this with Zaif’s expanded services. Zaif now allows people to trade the Japanese yen, Bitcoin, and Monacoin, which is Japan’s largest crypto currency.

Asayama added:

In Japan, no one talks about Bitcoin 2.0, and people have little interest in owning bitcoins themselves. Unfortunately, the first newsworthy event related to Bitcoin in Japan was the collapse of Mt. Gox, which has fueled a lot of negative coverage in the media. By providing the most user-friendly crypto currency exchange on the market, we are creating an environment that encourages Japanese people to increasingly rely on crypto currencies in the future.

Monacoin’s recent trading activity shows promising signs for crypto currencies in Japan. Since January 2015, Monacoin’s market cap has increased 750 percent, reaching a value of around $2.5 million. According to Asayama, it’s reminiscent of what happened with Bitcoin in 2011 and 2012.

Tech Bureau’s ultimate goal, however, is to use any boom in local crypto currencies to steer Japan toward more widespread acceptance of bitcoin. By doing so, Asayama hopes to turn Zaif into the country’s largest Bitcoin exchange and align Japan with the worldwide trend toward bitcoin usage.

There are currently less than 100 retailers that accept bitcoins in Japan.
Asayam added:

Although we have several Bitcoin payment processors here, there are no real incentives for retailers to accept bitcoins. Before we get more retailers on board, we first need to increase the number of Japanese people who are willing to own and use Bitcoin.

In July 2014, Tech Bureau launched a Bitcoin wallet called Zaif. Although it was intended to be an experimental project, Zaif wallet gained 2,000 users in the first 48 hours and 1,500 additional users by the end of the first month.

After acquiring Japan’s first Bitcoin exchange, Etwings, Tech Bureau made some changes and relaunched the service as part of the Zaif exchange on March 5, 2015. To spur quick growth, the company has waived trading fees for the time being. Tech Bureau plans to launch an English version of its service in the near future.

Writes for Asia Tech Media Limited's publications, and Experienced blogger and freelance IT/business writer for Chinese and English magazines and newspapers. Studied journalism at Indiana University Bloomington.
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