Fork Watch: JP Powerhouse Coincheck Now Unlikely to Suspend Bitcoin Payments
Currently, over 5,000 Japanese stores and restaurants use Coincheck Payment service to accept bitcoin payments. The bitcoin exchange previously announced that it would suspend this service on August 1. However, on Thursday, the company said it will no longer suspend this service, so merchants can keep accepting bitcoin payments, with a few restrictions.
Impact to Bitcoin Payment Service Minimized
Previously, Coincheck planned to suspend its merchant payment service along with bitcoin deposits and withdrawals on August 1, in anticipation of a hard fork which is expected to occur at 9:20 pm Japan time on that date. This would have affected over 5,000 stores and restaurants that currently use the company’s service to accept the digital currency. For example, when Coincheck halted its services on July 23, retailers also had to stop accepting bitcoin during that time. However, Coincheck announced on Thursday that:
Currently, Coincheck Payment is used by many users and we are concerned about the effect of suspension. As a result of reexamination, we decided to provide Bitcoin payment as usual.
While the service remains, deposits will require 30 confirmations. “It will take up to 5 hours to complete a deposit,” Coincheck wrote. Withdrawals will still be suspended on August 1.
Merchants Unlikely to Halt Service
It is up to each merchant to decide whether to keep accepting bitcoin payments on August 1. However, Coincheck International Business Developer Kagayaki Kawabata told Bitcoin.com that:
We think they [merchants] will keep operating bitcoin payment as usual.
Before Coincheck announced that its payment service will not be suspended, some stores have already said they would stop bitcoin payments. A chain of eyeglasses stores, Meganesuper, announced that its 334 stores have stopped accepting bitcoin as of July 25, citing a possible failure of the blockchain to record bitcoin transactions, IT Media reported. Meganesuper only started accepting the cryptocurrency early this month using Recruit Lifestyle’s Air Regi app, via Coincheck Payment.
Other Merchant Service Providers and Stores
Some merchants accept bitcoin through Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange Bitflyer. The exchange has also announced that it will not halt bitcoin deposits, so merchants can still accept bitcoin payments.
Bic Camera is a major Japanese electronic chain retailer that started accepting bitcoin at some of its stores in April, through Bitflyer. On Wednesday, while bitcoin exchanges were trying to decide what to do on August 1, Bic Camera announced that it had completed adding a bitcoin payment option to all Bic Camera stores as well as some Sofmap and Koshima stores, according to local publications.
While Coincheck and Bitflyer have opted to keep their merchant services operational on August 1, two other bitcoin exchanges which offer merchant services have decided to halt their services.
Bitpoint Japan announced on Friday that its store settlement service will be suspended on August 1 at 20:00 and is scheduled to resume on August 2 at 16:00. Tech Bureau’s Zaif exchange announced on Wednesday that Zaif Payment’s settlement on the bitcoin network will be temporarily suspended on the morning of August 1, and their resume date has yet to be decided.
For most merchants, bitcoin payments account for a low volume of transactions, so it is unlikely that they will be directly affected by the hard fork expected on August 1.
Do you think Japanese Merchants will have trouble accepting bitcoin payments on August 1? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coincheck, Meganesuper, and Bitflyer
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