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There are no Plans to Curb the Japanese Cryptocurrency Market, Says FSA Commissioner

The commissioner of Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), Toshihide Endo has declared that the regulatory body prefers to pursue a more measured approach to regulating the country’s cryptocurrency space. The FSA has taken strict measures against defaulting virtual currency bourses in Japan after the January Coincheck hack saga.

A Measured Approach to Cryptocurrency Regulations

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, the FSA commissioner promised more moderate regulations. He said that his agency would strive to find ways of adequately regulating the digital currency market in the country. According to Endo, the Agency wishes to develop a regulatory framework that balances the need to protect consumers while not at the same time, stifling the growth of the industry.

Commenting on the matter, Endo said:

We have no intention to curb (the crypto industry) excessively,” he said. “We would like to see it grow under appropriate regulation.

Endo’s comments came as part of a wide-ranging interview session where the FSA chief spoke about numerous aspects of the Japanese financial space.

Post-Coincheck Cryptocurrency Space in Japan

The Japanese cryptocurrency industry has come under increased levels of scrutiny in the aftermath of the Coincheck hack. In January 2018, Coincheck – a prominent exchange platform at the time suffered a devastating cyber-attack. Hackers stole more than half a billion U.S. dollars in NEM tokens.

After the Coincheck hack, the FSA increased its oversight activities over the exchange platforms in the country. A thorough investigation by the agency unearthed alleged sloppy practices on the part of these platforms. According to the FSA, many of these cryptocurrency exchanges lack robust internal anti-money laundering (AML) protocols, as well as inadequate security infrastructure.

Since then, many platforms have suffered run-ins with the Agency including Binance which contributed to the exchange behemoth orchestrating a move to Malta. The FSA had already pioneered the idea of a national cryptocurrency exchange regulatory framework in 2017, making Japan the first country to have such a structured government oversight of the nascent industry.

In April 2017, the FSA passed a revised services payment code which the agency mandates all platforms to obey. The code which in effect recognized Bitcoin as legal tender also established defined operational provisions for cryptocurrency exchange platforms.

What do you make of FSA Commissioner – Toshihide Endo’s assurance of a more measured approach to cryptocurrency regulations in Japan? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.


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Coinbase Announces Japanese Expansion Plans

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the United States is coming to Japan. This move is the latest in a series of expansion activities targeted at increasing the company’s influence in the nascent digital currency landscape.

Coinbase Japan

Dan Romero, the VP and GM of Coinbase announced the move in a post on the company’s Medium blog on June 4, 2018. The company also tweeted about the plan, declaring its excitement at the prospects of operating in a new market environment. A portion of the blog post reads:

As part of our effort to accelerate the global adoption of cryptocurrency, today we’re announcing the launch of Coinbase’s office in Japan.

The cryptocurrency exchange behemoth also plans to comply with the regulatory standards in Japan.

As in other markets, we plan to take a deliberate approach to our rollout in Japan, which means working hand-in-hand with the Japanese FSA to ensure compliance with local laws at every stage.

The company will also make sure to offer Japanese translations for all of its services in the country.

Meet Nao Kitazawa, the CEO of Coinbase Japan

As part of the expansion plans, the company has appointed Nao Kitazawa as the CEO of the Coinbase Japan office. Kitazawa brings years of experience in the fintech and legal fields. According to the announcement, Kitazawa will be tasked with building a talented team of locals that will form the foundation for launching the company in Japan.

Kitazawa is a veteran of the investment, legal and real estate industries. He was formerly of Morgan Stanley in Japan where he worked as an investment banker. He was also the COO of Money Design, an investment advisory platform.

The new CEO of Coinbase Japan brings more than experience and business acumen to the table. Kitazawa is sitting member of the Fintech Association of Japan. Thus, he will be able to guide the company in obtaining the necessary regulatory clearance from the FSA. Kitazawa is a cryptocurrency enthusiast. The company believes he possesses the right set of skills to help them capture the Japanese cryptocurrency market.

Will Coinbase List Ripple (XRP)?

By entering the Japanese market, Coinbase has once again stoked the flames of the Ripple (XRP) listing debacle. There has been a long-running debate on whether coin base would add Ripple to its catalog of supported cryptos. XRP is reportedly the most popular digital token in Japan. Thus, the company might see itself coming under increased pressure to list Ripple tokens.

Japan has emerged as a crypto-friendly nation especially after the negative policies of countries like China and South Korea in 2017. The country is considered to be the center of cryptocurrency commerce in the Asian theater with numerous licensed exchange platforms. However, in the aftermath of the $550 million Coincheck hack in January, the FSA has taken a more hands-on approach to cryptocurrency monitoring and regulations.

Can Coinbase replicate its successes in the U.S. cryptocurrency market in Japan? Do you agree that the company needs to list XRP if it is going to stand any chance of capturing the Japanese market? Keep the conversation going in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of Coinbase.

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Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance Denies Regulatory Trouble in Japan

A recent report from Nikkei suggests that Japan’s Financial Services Agency (JFSA) will issue a formal warning to cryptocurrency exchange Binance, for operating without a license in the country. The exchange’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, recently denied these claims and dubbed the report “irresponsible journalism.”

Japan’s FSA would reportedly see the exchange cease operations in the country until it grants it official approval. The warning against Binance would be followed by a criminal complaint, as the regulator would reportedly press criminal charges if the company did not register with it, as recently reported.

The exchange’s leader took to Twitter to answer Nikkei’s report. He revealed the company is in “constructive dialogs” with the regulator, and assured users it didn’t receive any mandates. He added that it doesn’t make sense for the JFSA to inform a media outlet about the mandate before informing the company while dialog is ongoing.

Hong Kong-based Binance is notably one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, as it often sees a $2 billion daily trading volume. It was launched through an ICO (initial coin offering) where it sold its own BNB tokens, which can be used on the platform.

Responding to chatter on Twitter, Zhao further noted that although social media allows people to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt), it also allows Binance to have a voice. This, he noted, is “a big upside, I think it outweighs the negative.”

Japanese regulators have been clamping down on cryptocurrency exchanges this year, after Tokyo-based Coincheck saw hackers steal over $500 million worth of NEM from its wallets.

According to reports, the FSA has issued licenses to 16 cryptocurrency exchanges so far, including Quoine and bitFlyer. Two exchanges were forced to suspend all service due to inadequate security, while another five were told to create a “Security Improvement Plan.”

Binance has recently announced it will launch a completely decentralized cryptocurrency exchange to run alongside its current platform. The company’s team has been creating a “tailored blockchain” that will allow its new platform, Binance Chain, to trade cryptocurrencies in a decentralized way.

Bitcoin’s price was affected by the news. At press time, the flagship cryptocurrency saw its price fall by 4.8 percent in the last 24-hour period to $8,636, according to data from CryptoCompare. As covered by Ethereum World News, this isn’t the first time Binance affects the cryptocurrency’s price, as rumors it got hacked also saw bitcoin decline.