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Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif’s Hack

September 21, 2018 |

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack

Following the hack of Zaif, one of Japan’s regulated crypto exchanges, the country’s financial regulator immediately responded, launching an emergency inspection of the exchange and a survey of all other crypto exchanges. Finance Minister Taro Aso has also commented on the situation. In addition, the recently established self-regulatory body has asked all exchanges to inspect their systems.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

FSA Launches Emergency Inspection

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's HackJapan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has responded to the hack of Zaif, one of its regulated crypto exchanges. Japan only has 16 exchanges registered with the FSA.

Zaif announced on Thursday, Sept. 20 (Japan time), that it was hacked on Sept. 14 but noticed the breach on Sept. 17. The exchange claims that at least 5,966 BTC were stolen and estimates the total damage to be approximately 6.7 billion yen (~US$ 60 million). Other than BTC, it believes that some BCH and MONA were also stolen.

Following Zaif’s announcement, the FSA immediately launched an emergency inspection of the exchange, according to local media. The Mainichi Shimbun reported:

The FSA inspected the company’s base in Osaka on the same day in order to confirm the circumstances…We will examine in detail the [exchange’s] safety management system etc.

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's HackThe news outlet added that “On the same day, the Financial Services Agency launched a simultaneous survey on the customers’ property management situations of all virtual currency exchange operators.”

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack
Taro Aso.

The Japanese regulator is still dealing with the aftermath of Coincheck’s hack in January when hackers stole 58 billion yen (~$ 534 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM. Since then, the agency has stepped up its oversight of crypto exchanges, including on-site inspections. Last month, it revealed the result of the inspection of 23 crypto exchanges which shows many problems.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Taro Aso was quoted by Nikkei speaking at a press conference after the cabinet meeting on Sept. 21 (Japan time):

It is regrettable that virtual currency of about 6.7 billion yen leaked from illegal access from the virtual currency exchange company Tech Bureau…There is a problem with [its] system and governance…We will grasp the actual situation and conduct administrative responses necessary for user protection.

Third Business Improvement Order

Following Zaif’s hack announcement, Reuters reported that the FSA is considering issuing a third business improvement order to Tech Bureau, the operator of Zaif. The firm has already received two business improvement orders: one in March and another in June. However, the news outlet noted:

Even with repeated administrative sanctions, strengthening of the [exchange’s] internal control system did not proceed.

The Sankei Shimbun quoted an investigator saying, “I am overly concerned about [Zaif’s] security,” noting that the situation could “repeat the same thing as [the] Coincheck incident.”

Response From Self-Regulatory Body

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack
Taizen Okuyama.

The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea) has also issued a statement regarding the hack of Zaif. The association is a self-regulatory body whose members are the 16 registered crypto exchanges including Tech Bureau.

“Although the situation is unknown at this time, our association will also request the company to take measures necessary for user protection, such as protection of user property and prompt disclosure of information,” the president of the association, Taizen Okuyama, announced on Sept. 20. He added:

Also, in order to avoid the same situation, the association [has] requested all members to conduct emergency inspections of [their] virtual currency management systems.

Exchanges Self-Inspecting

A number of crypto exchanges in Japan have made announcements about their own systems after the news of Zaif’s hack spread.

Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif's Hack“In light of the recent theft of assets from Tech Bureau Corp., we have conducted an immediate inspection of our asset management systems. We detected no signs of unauthorized activity,” Bitflyer claims. Japan’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume has stopped accepting new customers since it received a business improvement order from the FSA in June.

GMO Coin, the crypto subsidiary of Japan’s internet giant GMO, has made an announcement in response to customer inquiries about the possibility of theft from its platform. The exchange wrote:

We check customer balances and the balance of the virtual currency kept by our company every business day, and also check [for] the existence of theft and spill in the process of sorting and storing customers’ virtual currency and our own virtual currency separately…we have confirmed that there is no problem even today and in the past confirmed results.

Another crypto exchange, Bitpoint, has notified its customers that it has “carried out urgent re-inspections and confirmed that no illegal outflow of virtual currency is taking place and that there are no problems with security measures.”

What do you think of how the Japanese regulators respond to Zaif’s hack? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Pixabay, Zaif, and Money Partners.


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The post Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif’s Hack appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen

September 20, 2018 |

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen

Japanese government-approved cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has confirmed that it has been hacked. After a preliminary investigation, the exchange says at least 5,966 BTC have been stolen, with an estimated total damage of $ 60 million. Some of the stolen coins belong to the exchange but the majority belong to customers.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Zaif Hacked

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC StolenJapanese crypto exchange Zaif has been hacked, its operator announced on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Tech Bureau Inc., which operates Zaif, explained that the exchange “detected server abnormality” on Monday and immediately suspended several services, including deposit, withdrawal, and merchant payment services.

The company revealed that unauthorized access to its hot wallet was detected between 17:00 and 19:00 on Sept. 14, elaborating:

Some of the deposit and withdrawal hot wallets were hacked by unauthorized access from the outside, and part of the virtual currencies managed by us was illegally discharged to the outside.

Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC StolenThe exchange believes that three cryptocurrencies may have been stolen: BTC, BCH, and MONA. While it has confirmed that 5,966 BTC were stolen, the theft of the other two cryptocurrencies is still being investigated. Tech Bureau explained that the extent of the damage is currently unknown because the exchange’s server will not be restarted until it is confirmed to be secured in order to prevent further damage. Nonetheless, the company clarified:

It is estimated that the total loss due to the damage…is equivalent to about 6.7 billion yen [~US$ 60 million] (including MONA and BCH) in Japanese yen.

Out of the total damage, the company says 2.2 billion yen (~$ 19.6 million) belong to the exchange and 4.5 billion yen (~$ 40 million) belong to customers. Tech Bureau said it has asked for 5 billion yen (~$ 44.6 million) in assistance from a subsidiary of Fisco Ltd. to help repay affected customers, Kyodo News described.

Investigating and Rebuilding

In its announcement, Tech Bureau stated that it reported the breach to the Treasury Department on Sept. 18. “This case is a criminal case,” the company wrote, adding that it has requested an investigation into the breach. The company detailed:

Currently, we are checking and strengthening security, rebuilding the server, etc., in order to restart the system of depositing / withdrawing virtual currency.

The Osaka-based exchange, established in 2014, is one of the 16 government-approved crypto exchanges in Japan. The country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) issued the company two business improvement orders: the first was on March 8 and the second on June 22. The agency ramped up its oversight of crypto exchanges after hackers stole 58 billion yen (~$ 534 million) worth of the cryptocurrency NEM from Coincheck in January.

What do you think of Zaif’s hack? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Zaif.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Regulated Exchange Zaif Hacked – Nearly 6000 BTC Stolen appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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SpaceX’s First Moon Tourist Is a Japanese Billionaire

September 18, 2018 |

SpaceX’s first paying passenger will be Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, who is to blast off from earth in 2023, circle the moon and return, Elon Musk announced.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

Japanese Submarine Conducted Exercise in South China Sea Last Week

September 18, 2018 |

A Japanese submarine held a military exercise in the South China Sea, Japan’s Defense Ministry said Monday, in a challenge to China, which has made broad territorial claims in the region.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation Updates

September 17, 2018 |

Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation Updates

Japan’s financial regulator has recently unveiled the current state of the crypto regulations in the country. Three crypto operators are currently being reviewed. With 160 companies wanting to enter the space, the regulator plans to add more personnel to help review new applicants. In addition, a self-regulatory plan for crypto exchanges has also been submitted to the regulator.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Current State of Crypto Regulations

Japan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), published several documents from its fifth crypto study group meeting on Wednesday, September 12. The current state of crypto regulations and exchange registrations were discussed.

Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation UpdatesThe agency confirmed that out of the 16 companies that have been allowed to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed, only three have survived the agency’s recent inspections. Coincheck, Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin are currently being reviewed. The FSA reiterated that it is “currently reviewing the work improvement report” of Coincheck and, going forward, it will periodically conduct on-site inspections of registered exchanges.

Out of the 16 companies, one was rejected by the agency and 12 others have withdrawn their applications. In addition, approximately 160 companies have expressed their intention to register crypto exchanges, as previously reported by news.Bitcoin.com.

FSA Expanding Crypto Team

The FSA’s vice commissioner for policy coordination, Kiyotaka Sasaki, said at the meeting that “The biggest problem is how to deal with new operators,” Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Japanese Regulator Unveils Current State of Crypto RegulationsHe noted that the agency currently has 30 personnel whose jobs include monitoring crypto exchanges and traders, supervising unregistered operators, and reviewing registration applications.

However, with over 160 companies wanting to enter the market, the FSA is seeking additional workforce to help with reviewing applicants. The agency is requesting 12 more personnel in the financial year 2019 to swiftly respond to crypto exchange operators, the publication conveyed.

Plan for Self-Regulation

Also discussed at the meeting are self-regulatory rules established by the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea).

Japanese Regulator Unveils Current State of Crypto Regulations
Yasunori Okuyama.

Currently, the members of the association are the 16 government-approved crypto exchanges: Money Partners, Quoine, Bitflyer, Bitbank, SBI Virtual Currency, GMO Coin, Bittrade, Btcbox, Bitpoint Japan, DMM Bitcoin, Bitarg Exchange Tokyo, Bitgate, Bitocean, Fisco Virtual Currency, Tech Bureau, and Xtheta.

The president of both the association and Money Partners, Yasunori Okuyama, explained to the meeting attendees the long list of self-regulatory rules, Impress Corporation reported. One of the rules relates to the handling of cryptocurrencies at exchanges, which states:

When handling a new virtual currency, after conducting an internal review by the member, it is necessary to notify the association beforehand, and if the association gives an objection, it will not be handled.

Another rule concerns the management of customer assets. The association explained that extra restrictions have been added such as “measures concerning margin trading using virtual currency” in compliance with the fund settlement law and the administrative guidelines.

Japanese Regulator Unveils Current State of Crypto RegulationsThe leverage limit designated by the association is four times but members can choose their own limit under certain circumstances. The margin trading rule aims to “suppress the risk of loss of users and excessive speculative transactions in leverage transactions using virtual currency,” the association explained.

Furthermore, exchanges must have anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) measures as well as rules regarding anti-social forces. Among other rules are ones covering basic transactions, dispute resolution, solicitation and advertising, trading guidelines, ethics and how to handle initial coin offerings (ICOs).

While the association says that “the self-regulatory rules will generally be enforced “at an early stage in order to acquire the accreditation of our association,” it acknowledges that some rules may take longer to comply.

What do you think of the Japanese crypto regulation and self-regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSA.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japanese Regulator Unveils Crypto Regulation Updates appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Huobi ‘Aggressively’ Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest Exchange

September 13, 2018 |

Huobi 'Aggressively' Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest Exchange

Crypto exchange Huobi is entering the Japanese market by acquiring a majority stake in one of the 16 government-approved crypto exchanges in the country. The company says it plans to “aggressively scale this trading platform into the largest in Japan,” with an eye on global expansion in the future.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Huobi Entering Japanese Market

Huobi 'Aggressively' Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest ExchangeHuobi is expanding into the Japanese market by acquiring a majority stake in Bittrade, a Japanese government-approved crypto exchange.

Huobi 'Aggressively' Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest ExchangeBittrade’s owner announced on Wednesday, September 12, that Huobi Global’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd., “will take a majority stake” in the exchange. Speaking of his strategic partnership with Huobi, Singaporean entrepreneur Eric Cheng, who owns 100% of Bittrade, said:

The parties intend to aggressively scale this trading platform into the largest in Japan with the potential to extend its services globally.

Huobi 'Aggressively' Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest ExchangeEstablished in China in 2013, Huobi has since moved its headquarters to Singapore. The company now claims to have an accumulated trading volume of over US$ 1 trillion, with “millions of users” worldwide. “Geographically, Huobi has compliance teams in Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, the UAE, Luxembourg, and other countries around the world,” the company wrote.

In addition, Huobi has been expanding to other regions through partnerships with local companies. Last month, Huobi announced that it is launching crypto exchanges in the Philippines, Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Canada.

Bittrade Already an Approved Exchange in Japan

Huobi 'Aggressively' Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest ExchangeOne of the biggest hurdles in entering the Japanese market right now is getting approval from the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Since Japan legalized cryptocurrency as a means of payment in April last year, all exchanges in the country are required to register with the FSA.

Last year, the agency approved 16 crypto exchanges. However, the approval rate has plummeted since the hack of Coincheck in January. The agency has since tightened its evaluation process of new exchanges. This has led to 13 of 16 quasi-exchanges to withdraw their applications. Bittrade is one of the 16 FSA-approved crypto exchanges.

Last week, Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten acquired Everybody’s Bitcoin, one of the three remaining quasi-exchanges, to fast-track into the Japanese crypto market.

Bittrade Previously Acquired by Singaporean Entrepreneur

Huobi 'Aggressively' Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest ExchangeIn May, Cheng “acquired 100 percent stake in two Japanese licensed companies,” Singapore Business Review reported. “With the acquisition, Cheng, the CEO of Upper Joyful Ltd, will own [the] controlling stake in the two firms — FX Trade Financial Co Ltd (FX Trade) and its affiliate company, Bittrade Co Ltd.”

Cheng has been investing in high-growth opportunities and currently has investments in regions such as Australia, Mainland China, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

What do you think of Huobi entering the Japanese market? Do you think Huobi will succeed in becoming the largest exchange in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Huobi, and Bittrade.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Huobi ‘Aggressively’ Enters Japanese Market With Plans to Become the Largest Exchange appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

6.6-Magnitude Quake Rocks Japanese Island

September 6, 2018 |

A powerful earthquake on Hokkaido Island in Japan triggered landslides that buried a “large” number of homes, a Japanese broadcaster reports, per CNN . Several aftershocks—one as powerful as 5.4 magnitude—followed the main quake, according to reports. An 82-year-old man died after he fell down the stairs at…
Newser

Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate Transactions

September 4, 2018 |

Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate Transactions

A Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed company has built a cryptocurrency settlement platform for real estate transactions. The firm has tested the platform using BTC and smart contracts for property sales and has released its findings; many benefits were observed over the traditional method.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate

Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate TransactionsJapanese real estate company Ruden Holdings (TYO:1400) recently announced the results of an experiment using its newly-created “virtual currency real estate settlement platform.”

Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate TransactionsThe company explained that the trial, which involved BTC and smart contracts, was conducted in collaboration with Blockchain Global Limited (BGL). The two companies partnered in April to develop the settlement system and a “virtual registration data inquiry system,” Ruden detailed, adding:

For the settlement of bitcoins (BTC) used in the property sale, Bitflyer’s web service and API functions were used.

Some parts of the system, such as time stamping of the contract, used the NEM test network, the company added. Bitflyer is Japan’s largest crypto exchange by volume. However, the exchange halted registering new users after receiving a business improvement order from the country’s financial regulator in June.

The Experiment

Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate TransactionsThe experiment began with a seller listing a property to sell and a buyer looking for one to buy. The buyer then filled out an offer to purchase the property, which the seller confirmed.

“The buyer then sent the virtual currency (bitcoin) to the Ruden company’s virtual currency account,” the company described, elaborating:

As soon as Ruden (system) confirms the remittance of the virtual currency, we will execute the contract and [convert the] virtual currency to Japanese yen. In addition, a notarized sale [and] purchase agreement is promptly shared with [the] buyer and seller.

Other forms including the property registration application and requests to acquire other necessary documents are also automatically sent in order to execute the sale of the property.

Many Advantages Over Traditional Systems

Ruden then outlined many advantages it observed from the experiment.

Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate TransactionsFor buyers and sellers, the company explained that using smart contracts and crypto payments makes it “possible to drastically shorten the time required” to perform each step of the process, including depositing money.

“Smart contracts eliminate the need for manual work and conditions,” the company detailed, adding that “the time to negotiate and conclude can be shortened compared to the current work.” Furthermore, the system also reduces “trouble such as refusal” to hand over the property after payment has been made.

Overall, Ruden emphasized:

It is not only to improve the efficiency of operations, but also to prevent unforeseen circumstances.

In addition to building the two systems above, the company announced last week the establishment of an overseas subsidiary in Singapore for the issuance of its own token.

What do you think of using BTC and smart contracts in real estate transactions? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Ruden Holdings.


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The post Japanese Company Trials BTC and Smart Contracts in Real Estate Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese Market

September 1, 2018 |

Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese Market

Japanese mega e-commerce and internet company Rakuten Inc. is entering the crypto space. Instead of submitting a new application to the country’s financial regulator, Rakuten is acquiring an existing crypto exchange to fast-track into the Japanese crypto market.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Rakuten to Operate Crypto Exchange

Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese MarketRakuten Inc. announced Friday that “it decided to acquire Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. through its subsidiary, Rakuten Card Co. Ltd.” After the stock acquisition, which is expected to take place on October 1, Everybody’s Bitcoin will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rakuten. The acquisition cost is listed as 256 million yen (~US$ 2,305,484).

The e-commerce giant wrote:

We expect that the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future. In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function, and have been considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry as the Rakuten Group.

Furthermore, the company revealed that a growing number of its FX and securities customers “have been calling for the provision of a cryptocurrency exchange service.”

Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese MarketFounded in 1997, Rakuten claims to have more than 1.2 billion members globally. The company has over 70 businesses across e-commerce, digital content, communications, and fintech. It owns messaging app Viber and has invested heavily in car-hailing service Lyft. In 2016, the firm established a dedicated research and development unit in Belfast called Rakuten Blockchain Lab. In addition, the Japanese government gave Rakuten a concession in April to operate Japan’s fourth major wireless carrier.

About Everybody’s Bitcoin

Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese MarketKnown in Japanese as Minnano Bitcoin, Everybody’s Bitcoin began operating a crypto exchange service on March 30 last year. The exchange currently offers the trading of BTC, BCH, and ETH against the yen.

In April last year, the revised Payment Services Act went into effect in Japan, legalizing cryptocurrency as a means of payment and requiring all crypto exchanges in the country to register with the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

Everybody’s Bitcoin applied for a license on September 7, 2017, but its application is still under review. The FSA has, however, approved 16 crypto exchanges. As for those companies Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese Marketthat were already operating crypto exchanges prior to the regulation taking effect, the agency has allowed them to keep operating while their applications are being reviewed. These companies are referred to as “quasi-operators” of crypto exchanges or “deemed” crypto exchanges.

Rakuten described:

Currently, Everybody’s Bitcoin operates the business as a deemed cryptocurrency exchange and is waiting for approval of the official registration.

A Fast Track to Registration

Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese MarketSince the hack of Coincheck in January, the FSA has tightened its review process of crypto exchanges. The agency has issued a number of business improvement orders and has temporarily shut down some quasi-operators.

On April 25, Everybody’s Bitcoin received a business improvement order from the Kanto Local Finance Bureau. “Everybody’s Bitcoin is working to implement improvements in the items outlined in the business improvement order,” Rakuten detailed.

Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese MarketDue to the stricter review process, most of the 16 quasi-operators have exited the industry. The FSA confirmed this week to news.Bitcoin.com that only three applications from these operators are left. They are for Coincheck, Lastroots and Everybody’s Bitcoin.

Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group after the hack. Lastroots just had more investments from SBI Group, which also has its own crypto subsidiary, SBI Virtual Currencies, and offers a crypto trading service called Vctrade.

According to Friday’s announcement:

Rakuten Group decided to acquire Everybody’s Bitcoin shares so that it can realize the early registration as a cryptocurrency exchange and develop cryptocurrency services to customers.

According to the e-commerce giant, Everybody’s Bitcoin “decided to expand the business under the Rakuten Group to maximize synergies…in order to further promote its cryptocurrency business.”

What do you think of Rakuten fast-tracking into the Japanese crypto market? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Rakuten Inc, Everybody’s Bitcoin, Coincheck, and Lastroots.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Rakuten Acquires Crypto Exchange to Fast-Track Into the Japanese Market appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

August 31, 2018 |

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Japan’s top financial regulator has revealed exclusively to news.Bitcoin.com the number of crypto exchanges seeking to enter the Japanese market. The agency also confirms the number of existing exchanges that have exited the industry, leaving only three applications currently being reviewed.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Three Quasi-Operators Are Left

Cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan are licensed by the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator RevealsThe FSA has licensed 16 crypto exchanges so far. In addition, it has allowed 16 more companies, including Coincheck, to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed. These companies are sometimes referred to as “quasi-operators” of crypto exchanges.

However, since the hack of Coincheck in January, the FSA has stepped up its oversight of crypto exchanges. It has issued many business improvement orders and temporary shut down some exchanges. With stricter rules to comply, a number of quasi-operators began to withdraw their applications and exit the industry.

An FSA representative told news.Bitcoin.com that, out of the original 16 quasi-operators:

There are three quasi-virtual currency broker dealers still being reviewed: Coincheck, Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. [Minnano Bitcoin], and Lastroots.

Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group after the hack. While the FSA declined to comment on Coincheck’s specific application, Monex is hopeful that the exchange will be approved in September. Once approved, Coincheck will resume normal operations, including registering new members, Monex previously said.

FSA Never Stopped Reviewing Applications

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator RevealsSince the hack of Coincheck, the FSA began rigorously inspecting all crypto exchanges, 23 of which received an on-site inspection. The agency recently released a report detailing its findings.

No new companies have been approved this year, drawing speculation that the agency may have halted reviewing exchange operators.

However, the FSA confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com:

There is no such fact that we stopped reviewing process.

160 Interested Companies

160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator RevealsThe FSA revealed in July that about 100 companies were interested in applying for a license to operate a crypto exchange. Among them are Line Corp and Yahoo! Japan. Line recently launched an exchange, Bitbox, that serves customers globally except those in Japan and the U.S. The company is waiting for the FSA’s approval before beginning operations in Japan.

On Wednesday, the agency disclosed to news.Bitcoin.com the updated number of interested operators, stating:

Including preliminary consultation/inquiries regarding registration, around 160 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.

What do you think of 160 exchange operators wanting to enter the crypto space in Japan while most of the quasi-operators have exited the market? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSA.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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