Disgraced cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has come under new management, and its new owners are planning to bring the trading platform to the US market.
Bloomberg reports that Monex, the Japanese brokerage firm that acquired Coincheck in April, believes a US expansion could fast-track the exchange’s quest to once again become a major player in the industry.
“We can broaden our customer base at Coincheck,” Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto told the publication. “In the end, we should and we can replicate the profitability they achieved before.”
As CCN.com reported, Coincheck made approximately $491 million during fiscal year 2017, even though the exchange ceased most of its operations during the two-month period that followed the $530 million hack the platform suffered in January. Ultimately, the exchange cleared $57.6 million in profit for the year, even after paying out $432 million to compensate traders who lost funds as a result of the theft, which in pure dollar terms was the largest in the industry’s history.
Following the hack, traders withdrew more than $540 million worth of funds from the platform, and its April volume was 95 percent lower than it was in December, its busiest-ever month. This leaves Monex, which purchased the platform for $34 million plus an agreement to split profits for the next three years, with a tremendous uphill battle to rebuild the exchange’s reputation — and trading volume.
But the US expansion is more than just a ploy to expand into a market where the hack received less press coverage. Matsumoto explained that although Japan has a reputation for being one of the most cryptocurrency-friendly countries, it lags behind other jurisdictions in clarifying the regulatory status of some cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering (ICO) tokens.
“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 US and Europe are moving ahead,” he said. “What the US decides will have a huge impact on Japan.”
Moreover, he argued that Japan’s high capital gains rate — 55 percent — could hamstring the cryptocurrency trading industry’s growth moving forward, particularly as it moves further into the mainstream
“At that level, it’s hard to even think of crypto as something you’d put in your portfolio,” he said of Japan’s capital gains rate. “That means it’ll just remain a plaything for speculators.”
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