Taotao, a crypto exchange based in Japan, is planning to launch in May with the approval of Japanese authorities.
According to a CNBC report in April 2018, Yahoo! Japan said that it will acquire a 40 percent stake in BitARG Exchange Tokyo, which has since reportedly been rebranded to Taotao.
“Yahoo Japan Corp said on Friday it would buy a minority stake in a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange, becoming the latest major Japanese financial services provider to shrug off security concerns and join the digital money industry,” the report read.
Prior to that, in March 2018, CCN reported that Yahoo! Japan is preparing to launch a cryptocurrency exchange.
Why Are Conglomerates Committing to Crypto?
In Japan alone, at least five major financial institutions and technology conglomerates in the likes of Bic Camera, Rakuten, SBI Holdings, GMO, and Yahoo! Japan are now involved in the cryptocurrency industry in a major way.
Rakuten, known as the Amazon of Japan, acquired a small cryptocurrency exchange last year for $2 million to integrate an infrastructure to potentially accept cryptocurrency payments, and Bic Camera, the country’s biggest electronics retailer, integrated a bitcoin payment system across all its stores nationwide.
In South Korea, virtually every leading conglomerate across major industries are committed to crypto, including Samsung, Hyundai, Kakao’s Dunamu, and SK in areas such as mining, trading, and blockchain development.
In the U.S., in recent months, major financial institutions like Fidelity, ICE, and Nasdaq have released cryptocurrency-related products, fueling the rate in which the cryptocurrency market is becoming institutionalized in a short period of time.
Similar to what Ben Horowitz, the legendary investor behind Andreessen Horowitz said, conglomerates most likely perceive cryptocurrencies as an asset class that will continue to survive and grow over the long run, like the internet at its early stage.
Conglomerates possibly see an opportunity wherein a small amount of resources invested at this juncture of the cryptocurrency market could result in a large gain in the long-term, both in terms of profitability and strategy.
With crypto, it’s worse in most ways than the old computing platform in that it’s slow, it’s complex, it’s lacking a lot of features, but it has one feature that has never existed before and that is trust. Trust is super powerful. You don’t have to trust the government, Twitter, Facebook, or the other people on the network. You just have to trust math. That opens a very interesting world for developers because you can develop applications like money. Nobody has been able to program money before.
The 15-month bear market has also served as evidence to investors and to companies that were considering to build products in the cryptocurrency sector that crypto is not a short-term fad but rather an emerging asset class at its infancy.
How Will Yahoo! Japan Do in Crypto?
In March 2018, Nikkei reported that some employees of Yahoo! Japan will be dispatched to work on BitARG, now Taotao,
“Starting next month, YJFX executives and engineers will be dispatched to BitARG, where they will spend about a year developing the new exchange system. They will also work on a corporate governance structure, a customer management system and internal controls,” the Nikkei report read.
It has been a year since the report of Nikkei has been released, which suggests that Yahoo! Japan used its resources for a full year to develop a cryptocurrency exchange to be launched in a major crypto exchange market in Japan.