As hordes of commuters and tourists crowd the famous Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, a Japanese celebrity coated in gold gazes down on them, emblazoned on a huge billboard.
The eye-catching poster is the latest ad for a cryptocurrency exchange in Japan and a striking illustration of the country’s enthusiasm for digital cash.
Japan’s financial regulators began on-site inspections of 16 digital currency exchanges on Friday, two weeks after hackers stole Y58 billion (£380 million) in NEM tokens from Tokyo-based exchange operator Coincheck.
However the largest virtual currency heist – which has been blamed on North Korean hackers – and concerns over lax security at other exchanges have not deterred speculators or investors in Japan’s virtual currency market.
While China has banned cryptocurrency exchanges outright, apparently because the government intends to create its own virtual cash, and South…