Eleven Japanese bitcoin exchanges have been granted approval to operate under the country’s new financial services regulations.
Though home to one of the most infamous events in cryptocurrency history — the collapse of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox — Japan has largely embraced cryptocurrency, and regulators have stated a desire to promote “sound market development.”
To that end, Reuters reports that Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has announced that it has approved 11 domestic bitcoin exchanges to operate within the country. Registration with the FSA had become necessary as part of the April bill that recognized bitcoin as legal tender and eliminated the consumption tax on purchases at bitcoin exchanges.
In the months following this legalization, bitcoin adoption has surged within Japan, and the country has become a central hub for Asia’s crypto-economy in the wake of China’s ICO and bitcoin exchange ban.
Now that bitcoin is recognized as a legal payment method, cryptocurrency exchanges are subject to increased security guidelines, including segregating funds in customer accounts, verifying customer identities to combat money-laundering, and having adequate systems and policies in place to prevent cyber attacks. The FSA has also stated it will put bitcoin exchanges under “full surveillance,” which may include on-site inspections.
Notably, bitFlyer–whose BTC/JPY trading pair regularly ranks as one of bitcoin’s top three highest trading volumes–was one of the exchanges licensed during this first round of approval.
Quoine, another cryptocurrency exchange to receive licensure, issued a statement saying they will continue to work with regulators to promote the “healthy development of the cryptocurrency industry within Japan.”
Quoine CEO Mike Kayamori added that FSA licensure “is a positive market signal that we are here to build a trusted exchange, with proper compliance measures in place to prevent security breaches and provide more asset protection for our customers.”
There are still 17 Japanese bitcoin exchanges waiting for the FSA to review their applications for licensure.
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