Everybody knows her as “Miss Bitcoin” on Japanese social media. Mai Fujimoto says she invests 100% of her savings in the cryptocurrency, which has proven a huge hit in Japan.
“I convert all my disposable income into cryptocurrency,” said the 32-year-old during an interview. “I’ve been doing this for nearly a year now. I convert all my savings into cryptocurrency instead of putting them in a bank.”
But in Japan, she is not alone in her devotion. Bitcoin is recognized as legal in the world’s third-biggest economy (Japan) and nearly the 30% of global bitcoin transactions in December were in yen.
Why Japan? In terms of regulations, Japan has welcomed digital currencies with open arms. Last year, the country passed a law recognizing bitcoin and other virtual currencies as legal tender. Well-known Japanese businesses have started accepting payment in bitcoin and one firm even said it would pay part of its employees’ salaries in the currency if they wanted.
“The involvement of big companies, the sense of security derived from government approval and media exposure really brought in a whole new group of people to the market,” said Koji Higashi, a well-known Japanese commentator, on the cryptobusiness.
“To be honest, I am not sure if people are buying into bitcoin based on rational decision-making. It feels more of a short-term irrational mania to me,” he added.
However, “Miss Bitcoin” bought her first bitcoin for 1,200 yen ($10) in 2012. On Sunday it was trading at $16,726.Trade on BTC now