Crypto in Japan article – Useful Related Japanese Vocabulary

Are you interested in trading digital currency or crypto in Japan?

Bitcoin and crypto is all the buzz as of late – especially since Bitcoin crushed it’s 2017 all time high and has since tripled in price.  As of writing this article the price of 1 BTC is sitting around ~¥600,000 JPY (around $57,000 USD).

Maybe you live in Japan – but you want to get in on the action!

Or are you interested in expanding your cryptocurrency-related Japanese vocabulary?

Either way, this article is for you!  In this web post, we look at:

  • Cryptocurrency Japanese Vocabulary
  • Crypto Exchanges in Japan
  • Crypto Taxes in Japan

Disclaimer: Please note that this is not financial advice.  We at Coto Japanese Academy are not financial advisors; we are not encouraging or instructing anyone to purchase or trade cryptocurrency.  Further, this article is purely for educational and entertainment purposes related to language study and life in Japan.  Please do your own research and/or consult a financial advisor before investing.

Crypto in Japan – Crypto Trading Japanese Words

This section looks at cryptocurrency related vocabulary in Japanese.  Specifically, word related to trading and buying crypto assets on exchanges.

Thankfully, a good portion of the vocabulary is katakana – especially coin names, as they are foreign.  However there are some other finance-related Japanese words.  We cover some of those words in this list.

Crypto Japanese Vocab List:

  1. 仮想通貨 – “kasō tsūka”
    This is the most commonly used term, which means “virtual currency”.
  2. 暗号通貨 – “angō tsūka”
    Another word for cryptocurrency, while not as commonly used, it is worth noting that the National Tax Agency of Japan now uses the term “暗号資産” (cryptographic assets) instead of “仮想通貨” (virtual currency) to descripe cryptocurrency.
  3. ブロックチェーン – “burokku chēn”
    Quite straightforward, this is simply “blockchain”.
  4. ビットコイン – “bitto koin”
  5. イーサリアム – “eesariamu”
  6. 販売所 – “hanbaijo”
    This refers to the “digital marketplace” where you can buy and sell cryptocurrency on exchanges.
  7. 購入 – “kyōnyū”
    “To purchase” – This will be the term used on exchanges.
  8. 売却 – “baikyaku”
    “To sell” – Also the word used on exchanges.
  9. コイン送金 – “koin sōkin”
    “Send coins” – This is the same word 送金 you may have seen at ATMs before.
  10. コイン受取 – “koin uketori”
    “Receive coins.
  11. 資産 – “shisan”

※This is a growing list that we will continuously update.

Trading Crypto in Japan

Exchanges in Japan

If you want to trade crypto in Japan, you will need to either do it through a centralized exchange or find someone to trade with peer-to-peer.

While there are more exchanges than the 3 listed here, these are the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan.  The author of this article currently has accounts with all 3 of these exchanges.

1. Bitflyer

Bitflyer boasts that they are the number one exchange to buy Bitcoin in Japan.

They also may have some of the cheapest fees on this list, depending on the bank you use.  No fees for account maintenance, buy/sell orders, or Bitcoin-FX trades.  Additionally, they waive fees on bank deposits from SBI Sumishin Net Bank.  You can read more about their fees and commissions here.

A downside of Bitflyer for foreign nationals is their English-speaking support – or lack thereof.  Support requests in English can take up to a week to receive a response.

2. Coincheck

Coincheck boasts that they are the number 1 most downloaded exchange.

Setting up an account was a bit easier than Bitflyer’s, but funding the account may be more difficult if you are not a Japanese citizen as the banks involved may flag the transaction.  For this reason, Kraken JP is probably better.

Coincheck is similar to Bitflyer, but their fees are a bit higher than Bitflyer’s.  Especially to deposit funding via an ATM, they have fees that can be as high as 5%.  More details on their fee schedule here.

3. Kraken Japan

Kraken has returned to Japan as of November 2020.  Without a doubt they have the best customer service of the exchanges listed here (especially for foreign nationals living in Japan).  In the author’s opinion, Kraken Japan is hands down the best exchange on this list – especially for foreign nationals.

Kraken’s fees may not be quite as good as Bitflyer, but they are better than Coincheck.  Their instant-buys charge only a 1.5% fee.  You can find more info about there fee schedule here.

Their customer support is phenomenal – often responding to requests even in the middle of the night.  They also have full English-speaking support.

A potential downside of Kraken JP is that they (like most exchanges in Japan) are limited in the currencies they provide.  If you want to trade dogecoin or an erc20 token like Chainlink, you will need to withdraw your crypto to a non-kyc exchange like Binance or FTX.

Registering with the Exchange

With any centralized exchange, you need to fulfill KYC (know your customer) regulations.  This is to prevent money laundering and tax evasion.

For the KYC, the exchange will ask you to verify your identity via a government issued identification card.  And some may require additional documentation.  They also need to verify your residential address in Japan.

Unlike in countries with more advanced technological financial systems, moving money is not so seamless here in Japan.  Deposits and withdrawals of fiat currency to fund your account may take some time to show up in the exchange.  They also require you to manually send the money to a designated account via an ATM or mobile app (if your bank in Japan has mobile support).  Some even allow you to make deposits from convenient stores like 7/11 and Family Mart.

Cryptocurrency Taxes

We at Coto Japanese Academy are not tax experts.  Although there may be good insight and advice found online, we encourage you to please consult with actual tax professionals for filing your cryptocurrency taxes.

A taxable event with crypto occurs when a cryptocurrency is sold or exchanged.  Buying crypto is not a taxable event, but trading one crypto for another is.  Additionally, transferring crypto between wallets you own is also not a taxable event.  However, sending crypto in exchange for goods or services triggers a taxable event.

It is worth noting, however, that Japan sees cryptocurrency sales as income rather than capital gains.  Miscellaneous income under ¥200,000 JPY anually does not need to be reported if you have a full time employer who does your taxes for you.  If you earn profits over ¥200k a year, you will need to report and pay taxes according to your income tax bracket.

Gifted cryptocurrency is taxed as if it were sold at market price.

If your home country has a tax treaty with Japan, you may be able to only pay taxes on your trades to one government.  Please consult with a tax professional.

A rather helpful forum can be found on reddit here.

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