Japanese Regulators Grant Cryptocurrency Exchange License to Coincheck

Japan’s Financial Services Agency has issued an operating license to Coincheck, which lost $530 million due to a hack last year.

Japan’s finance regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has granted full permission for cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck to continue operating in the country. Cointelegraph Japan reported on the development on Jan. 11, quoting an official communique.

Coincheck, which was hacked in January 2018, losing altcoin tokens worth $530 million at the time, now joins the slowly increasing number of officially sanctioned exchanges serving the Japanese market.

The step is a milestone for the exchange and for online broker Monex Group, which bought Coincheck for a nominal $33.5 million in April.

Since the interim period, developers have slowly returned functionality to users and organized refunds of stolen coins.

Japan has sought to implement a licensing scheme over the past year in the wake of unease about exchanges’ security setups. Despite heightened legislation, smaller-scale hacks have continued, with fellow platform Zaif losing around $20 million last September.

On Friday, Cointelegraph also reported on a government investigation into crypto exchange security in South Korea, which found satisfactory compliance in less than a third of platforms.

Continue Reading

Post-Hack, Coincheck Reveals Plans to Expand to U.S. Market

Monex Inc, parent company of Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, has revealed plans to expand the crypto exchange to U.S. markets.

Monex Inc, the company that recently acquired hacked Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, has revealed plans to expand the exchange to the U.S. in an interview with Bloomberg today, May 18.

Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto said he expects Coincheck will receive an official license from Japanese authorities next month, but – without specifying a timeframe – he revealed the company now has its sights beyond Asia:

“Japan may seem like it’s one step ahead in crypto, but in terms of deciding what’s a security or a token and attracting institutional investors, the U.S. and Europe are moving ahead.”

Japan has long been at the vanguard of crypto adoption – the country was the first to recognize Bitcoin as a form of legal tender back in 2016 – but Matsumoto considers that the U.S. and Europe have now taken the edge in terms of crypto-specific regulatory momentum. He compared Japan’s hefty 55 percent levy tax on crypto with France’s recent initiative to tax crypto at a favorable capital gains rate of 19 percent, telling Bloomberg that:

“At [Japan’s] level, it’s hard to even think of crypto as something you’d put in your portfolio. That means it’ll just remain a plaything for speculators.”

More crucially still, the CEO argued that U.S. federal regulators now wield the biggest influence on deciding the future status of crypto in the world economy, referring to the ongoing debate as to whether digital assets should be regulated as securities or commodities. An eventual decision would provide much-needed clarity for the emerging industry, and ultimately foster growth and institutional investor confidence, he told Bloomberg.

Monex’s decision to target overseas markets is the latest in a series of upheavals in Coincheck’s checkered history since its unprecedented $532 mln hack in Jan. 2018. Coincheck was subsequently acquired by Monex in April, with the latter’s shares surging 98 percent since the acquisition, according to Bloomberg.

Recent figures released by Monex showed that notwithstanding the mammoth post-hack writedown that Coincheck issued as a refund to affected customers, the exchange still closed the fiscal year in the green, netting ¥6.3 bln (about $56.7 mln) revenue on sales of ¥62.6 bln.

Earlier this month, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), laid out yet further stipulations for the already stringent regulatory measures that have been imposed on the country’s crypto exchanges. An FSA source nonetheless judged that the crypto regulatory process in Japan has been unfolding “without the necessary know-how – we been feeling our way through the dark.”

Continue Reading