FSA: 160 crypto exchanges seek to enter Japanese market

August 31, 2018
Chris Wheal

Japan’s FSA is reviewing more licence applications from potential cryptocurrency exchange operators

Japan’s financial regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA) has told the news.Bitcoin.com website that around 160 different companies are interested in setting up a cryptocurrency exchange in the country.

The figure is a significant increase on last month, when the FSA reported that about 100 companies were interested in applying for a license to operate a crypto exchange. They included Linc Corp and Yahoo! Japan.

Line Corp, which is Japan’s biggest messaging app operator, launched its BitBox crypto exchange last month but the service is unavailable to users in both Japan and the US. The company is waiting for the FSA’s approval before beginning operations in Japan.

Stepping up requirements

In its update, the FSA told news.Bitcoin.com that “including preliminary consultation/inquiries regarding registration, around 160 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.”

The agency has licensed 16 crypto exchanges so far. In addition, it has allowed 16 more companies – including one, Coincheck, that was hacked last January – to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed. These companies are also known as “quasi-operators” of crypto exchanges.

The FSA stepped up its oversight of exchanges following the Coincheck hack, issuing various business improvement orders and temporarily shutting down some exchanges. The tougher rules persuaded several quasi-operators to withdraw their applications and exit the industry.

An FSA representative said that of the original 16 quasi-operator applications only three were still being reviewed: Coincheck, Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. [Minnano Bitcoin] and Lastroots. Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group following the hack and the new parent is hopeful that the exchange will be approved next month.


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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