Japanese finance minister Taro Aso recently cast doubt upon bitcoin, and indicated his staff would continue to monitor its developments in the near term.
Aso revealed his stance to members of the press on the heels of French finance minister Bruno Le Maire's announcement of a forthcoming proposed discussion of cryptocurrency regulation at next year's G20 global economics summit.
"There's no fixed definition on whether it's a currency or not," Aso said, following a cabinet meeting. "This issue is a difficult one." He added, "It has not yet been proven to be credible enough to become a currency, so I need to watch for a little while more."
The growing popularity of the flourishing marketplace has also been exhibited in nearby regions; Aso admitted that cryptocurrency use is widespread throughout China, but maintained that fiat currency is still preferable in Japan.
Japan has otherwise welcomed the economic boost cryptocurrency has offered; so far, 11 cryptocurrency exchanges have been approved by financial regulators in the island nation, with additional applications under review. In addition, Tokyo's Financial Exchange recently revealed that it's in the early stages of rolling out bitcoin derivatives.
Around the world, there are conflicting views from authorities on whether to define cryptocurrencies as strictly securities, currencies, utilities, or as property. In the US, the IRS issued tax code relating to cryptocurrency, and the SEC provided basic guidelines in July 2017. On the other hand, authorities in France have opted to lower restrictions in the country and allow unregulated securities trading. It remains to be seen how Japanese regulators define cryptocurrency.
As embracing new technologies goes, Japan has a reputation of innovating on the cutting edge; if Aso is determined to watch the evolution of cryptocurrencies prior to acknowledging them, he need merely maintain a presence in the midst of ongoing development.