Coinbase to open crypto exchange in Japan

June 05, 2018
Chris Wheal

Coinbase, operator of the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, is poised to launch in Japan where nearly three-fifths of the world’s trade in bitcoin is carried out.

According to data on CryptoCompare, 58.2% of the daily trading volume in bitcoin is transacted in Japanese yen. The exchange with the biggest slice of the bitcoin pie is Hong Kong’s Bitfinex, with nearly 24%, followed by Bitstamp with 16.4%.

Coinbase to open shop in Japan: Shutterstock

Coinbase currently trades just under 10% of the daily volume in bitcoin, according to CryptoCompare, yet much of this remains in US, dollar-based trade.

Lacking Asian presence

While the exchange operates in 32 countries, including Singapore, the company feels it lacks significant presence in Asia.

The San Francisco-based operator said it was in talks with Japan’s Financial Services Agency to ensure compliance with domestic financial regulations, and said it had named Nao Kitazawa as its chief executive for Japan.

“Nao’s passion for cryptocurrency combined with his extensive background provides Coinbase with a great foundation to successfully push into the largest cryptocurrency market in the world,” said Dan Romero, vice president and general manager of Coinbase on the company blog.

A former Morgan Stanley investment banker, Kitazawa was also the former chief operating officer at Money Design, an investment advice platform in Japan. He also sits on the board of the Fintech Association of Japan.

Strategic partnership

Coinbase’s first tentative foray into Japan was in July 2016 when it entered a $10.5m strategic partnership with the country’s largest financial institution Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ. The company said at the time that Japan would be an important market for it and was critical in the development of digital currencies.

Romero added on the company blog on Tuesday: “Our new office will lay the foundation for Japan’s crypto investors to access a range of Coinbase’s products.”

Post written by Chris Wheal
Chris Wheal is editor of OpenLedger's news and features service. An award-wining business journalists himself, he runs a team of freelance journalists from across the UK and north America.

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