Bitcoins sit among Ethernet cables inside a communications room at an office in this arranged photograph in London, U.K. (Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg)

Japan's Economy Could Get a Boost in 2018 From Bitcoin

(Bloomberg) -- Bitcoin’s about to boost the world’s third-largest economy, according to analysts at Nomura.

The digital coin’s 1,500 percent rally this year has left crypto-crazed Japanese investors likely sitting on hefty gains that Nomura thinks will spur consumer spending. 

“Rises in asset values often result in a rise in consumer spending, too, known as the wealth effect,” the team, led by Yoshiyuki Suimon, wrote on Friday. “We estimate the wealth effect from unrealized gains on bitcoin trading by Japanese investors since the start of fiscal year 2017, and estimate a potential boost to consumer spending of 23.2-96.0 billion yen.”

The note points out that trading volume in the bitcoin market is roughly 40 percent yen, which is larger than even the U.S. dollar’s share.

Japan's Economy Could Get a Boost in 2018 From Bitcoin

Bitcoin has fallen about 25 percent since closing in on $20,000 on Dec. 18, trading around $14,500 in New York on Friday afternoon.

Still, Nomura is confident that the share of investors who have benefited is much larger than those who may have lost money due to the recent decline.

“Moreover, the fact that the rise in bitcoin prices was concentrated in 2017 fourth quarter could result in the wealth effect materializing in 2018 first quarter, and if that is the case, we estimate a potential boost to real GDP growth on an annualized quarter over quarter basis of up to about 0.3 percentage points,” Nomura said.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.