Japan’s primary financial regulator has warned an unregistered Macau-based cryptocurrency exchange operator against soliciting investors in Japan.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued its first warning under the country’s revised payment services law – which recognizes bitcoin as a legal method of payment – to Macau-based Blockchain Laboratory, an unregistered firm reportedly pursuing investors in the country.
Revised in April 2017, the new payment services law prohibits unregistered cryptocurrency exchanges from operating in the country. Exceptions are made to exchanges operating before the updated legislation. Coincheck, a Tokyo-based exchange that suffered a major theft recently, is a notable example.
According to the Nikkei, Blockchain Laboratory offers services as “an initial coin offering agency” raising funds using cryptocurrencies. The firm was found to be offering seminars to prospective investors in Japan and, despite being advised repeatedly by the FSA to cease its activities in Japan, continued to do so. Concerned over possible investor losses, Japan’s financial regulator has now issued a direct warning to the ICO operator.
If the Macau-based firm fails to respond to the warning, the FSA is reportedly weighing up criminal charges by working with the police and Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency.
Furthermore, the FSA adds it will continue its scrutiny of cryptocurrency exchanges, with warnings if necessary, in the aftermath of the recent Coincheck theft. As things stand, there are 16 registered exchanges operating in Japan with a further 16 applicants currently under review by the regulator. The total number of unregistered exchange operators is a likely to be a lot higher, according to an FSA official.
“We have not figured out the whole picture, but the number seems to only increase as we investigate,” an official told the publication.
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