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Japan must build framework for cryptocurrencies' success

Public-private cooperation needed to protect users without quashing innovation

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Japan needs to regulate bitcoin and other virtual currencies without going so far as to stifle innovation.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Even as virtual currencies such as bitcoin have exploded in popularity worldwide, Japan's regulatory environment has failed to keep up -- something that must change in order to foster a thriving yet safe market in a promising area of financial technology.

Cryptocurrencies have rapidly gained ground as both a payment method and a vehicle for speculation. They enable users to send money via computer or smartphone quickly and cheaply.

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