Cryptocurrency Exchange Binance Faces Regulatory Pressure in Japan: Report

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Japan’s top securities regulator will warn cryptocurrency exchange Binance that it must cease operating in the country without a license or face enforcement action.

Citing a person familiar with the matter, Nikkei reports that Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) will issue a formal warning to Binance, which has allegedly begun expanding operations into Japan without permission from the regulatory agency.

Headquartered in Hong Kong and bootstrapped through an initial coin offering (ICO) last year, Binance has quickly emerged as one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges. At present, Binance ranks as the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform, with a 24-hour volume of nearly $1.9 billion.

Binance has its own utility token — BNB — and the exchange operator has announced that it has begun development on its own public blockchain, which will be used as the foundation for a decentralized exchange (DEX). The BNB price fell by approximately 10 percent from its intraday high following the initial report, although its 24-hour performance is still in positive territory.

Binance has said that intends to apply for an FSA license, but the fact that it expanded its operations into this jurisdiction without regulatory approval could attract more scrutiny to the company’s application.

Indeed, the FSA has stepped up its oversight of the country’s cryptocurrency trading markets across the board, a move that came in direct response to a hack at Tokyo exchange Coincheck in January — an incident which resulted in the theft of more than $530 million worth of tokens.

The country’s 16 licensed cryptocurrency exchanges have also announced that they will form a self-regulatory body to establish and enforce best practices within the industry.

CCN was unable to reach Binance for comment, but CEO Changpeng Zhao tweeted that the company was engaged in constructive dialogue with the FSA.

“We are in constructive dialogs with Japan FSA, and have not received any mandates,” Zhao said. “It does not make sense for JFSA to tell a newspaper before telling us, while we have an active dialog going on with them.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Josiah is a full-time journalist at CCN. A former ancient and medieval literature teacher, he has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2014. He lives in rural North Carolina with his wife and children. Follow him on Twitter @Y3llowb1ackbird or email him directly at josiah.wilmoth(at)ccn.com.