Tokyo (AP) Japan is the first country to start accepting bitcoin and other digital currencies in the country’s financial system.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he’s using the digital currency to buy more than 1 trillion yen ($1.4 trillion) of goods, services and bonds, including gold, Japanese media reported Wednesday.
Abe says bitcoin is a global phenomenon that has been around for more than five years.
The currency is a digital asset that cannot be produced or stored by banks.
Bitcoin is a virtual digital currency, not a physical currency.
The only way to obtain bitcoins is through transactions in the virtual currency, known as “mining,” which requires a computer to solve complex math puzzles and to store the data.
It’s an innovation that lets people get paid in a way that hasn’t existed before.
It’s also possible for a bitcoin user to transfer it to a foreign bank account.
A country like Japan is trying to encourage the use of bitcoins, which have skyrocketed in value in the past year, by offering financial services to its citizens, such as credit cards.
Bitcoin has also sparked a global debate about privacy and security.
The digital currency has been dubbed the “alt-right” by President Donald Trump and a “ponzi scheme” by the head of the Bank of England.
A few months ago, Japan’s Finance Ministry reported that bitcoin had grown from $8 million to $20 million.
That means a bitcoin transaction in Japan is now worth about $2.5 million, according to Japanese financial news website Nikkei.