Cryptocurrency and Japanese real estate

Japan is famous for being a developed economy that allows cryptocurrency to be used to purchase goods and services. When it comes to real estate trades however, it becomes a little trickier as seller of Japanese property by and large will not accept cryptocurrency for their property; they want yen.

Despite Japan on a regulatory level adopting cryptocurrency as a method of payment, a large majority of residential property sold is by Japanese individuals. At this retail level, the acceptance of crypto as a method of payment is not on the radar at all for property transactions thus the need to change the crypto into yen prior to purchasing a property.

Earlier this year Housing Japan investigated the possibility of accepting crypto on behalf of clients to then change into yen in order to purchase. What we found was after consulting with several lawyers and accountants specializing in the space was that for us to convert crypto to yen after receiving it into our wallet onshore here, we would be required to have a securities license according to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act regulated by Japan’s Financial Services Agency.

Obtaining a securities license is prohibitive for a real estate company to achieve as the resources and time needed for this is a pretty large distraction from what we do best; the brokerage and development of real estate.

So therefore, if you are interested in purchasing real estate in Japan, then you need to convert your crypto in to fiat currency to then have your funds sent to Japan via the normal banking systems.

The rental arena is looked at by regulators the same way as sales transactions; should your landlord be willing to accept crypto as a method of rental payment then all is well but here again, finding a landlord willing to accept anything other than cash is akin to finding a purple unicorn that can sing and dance.

This environment does present an opportunity for investors who have the means to purchase investment property with cash or traditional financing but then turn around and accept crypto as a method of rental payment. This requires one to know the crypto space very well on their own and is an area of expertise that Housing Japan (or any other realtor out there) is not qualified to offer advice about.

Should the environment change onshore here where sellers are more open to accepting cryptocurrencies as a method of payment for properties then we are more than happy to broker those deals. At present however there is simply not any seller’s wishing to accept anything but cash for the sale of their property.

Editor’s Note: Adam German is Vice President of Business Development at Housing Japan and a well-known figure in both the marketing and sales side of Tokyo real estate. Originally from Canada, Adam has been behind some of the most successful international residential property services in Tokyo.