More Japanese exuberance overnight (as USDJPY and Nikkei stumbled hard) sent Bitcoin to fresh record highs, blowing through $2800 and nearing $2900 this morning - now up 200% year-to-date.
It seems the momentum trade has caught the eye of Mrs. Watanabe...
But as we noted overnight, it's not just Bitcoin that is soaring, Bloomberg reports that Remixpoint Co., Infoteria Corp. and Fisco Ltd., have all seen volatile swings in their share prices after announcing businesses related to digital currencies.
Remixpoint, which has more than doubled since tying up with Peach Aviation Ltd. to let customers pay for tickets with bitcoin, fell as much as 9 percent in Tokyo on Tuesday.
Infoteria, up more than 50 percent in the past month, is testing ways to let shareholders vote by proxy using blockchain, bitcoin’s underlying technology.
Fisco, a financial information services provider, began operating a bitcoin exchange last year and is up about 25 percent since early May.
All of these gains coincide with bitcoin’s rally, with the value of the virtual currency doubling against the U.S. dollar since early May. That has made the stocks of the these small-cap companies an attractive way for speculators to invest in cryptocurrency markets without buying them directly. That’s because investors can make bets via their brokerage accounts instead of taking risks with bitcoin exchanges, according to Naoki Murakami, a well-known day trader in Japan.
“From about a month ago when all these virtual currencies started spiking like crazy, we began seeing the so-called ‘stocks of the virtual currency bubble,”’ said Murakami, a frequent speaker at investor conferences.
“Not everyone is sure they can trust bitcoin exchanges. And some don’t have accounts there. That’s why they’re using the stock market to speculate.”
Another reason why these stocks can become proxies for bitcoin is due to Japan’s relatively loose listing laws, some of which require no income and a market value of as little as $10 million before a company can go public. That’s made the Tokyo Stock Exchange home to hundreds of small companies.
“It’s pure frenzy,” Murakami said.
In April, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government legalized digital currencies as a form of payment and placed rules around audits and security. That lent credibility to digital currencies, leading to some Japanese companies seeking partnerships with bitcoin startups.