Big Players Transforming Crypto Exchanges in Japan

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Government-approved cryptocurrency trading platforms in Japan are undergoing changes with big players entering the market. News.Bitcoin.com talked to Japan's top financial regulator to learn about the regulatory implications of the changing business models and internal systems of regulated exchanges.

Changing Crypto Exchange Landscape
Crypto exchanges in Japan are rapidly transforming with the launch of new exchanges as large corporations entered the market. Japan's top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), explained to news.Bitcoin.com Monday that when a crypto exchange is acquired by another company:

There is no need to re-register. If its business model or internal control system are to be changed, FSA will rigorously review them from the perspectives of user protection and others.

The agency further clarified, "If there are changes of entries (such as major shareholders or board members) in the registration application, notification of those changes must be submitted."

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the FSA "raided" two crypto exchanges — Huobi Japan and Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange. However, according to the regulator, the visits are routine measures for all exchanges that have undergone internal changes. Huobi Japan recently acquired Bittrade exchange while Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange acquired Zaif.

New Exchanges in Japan
A subsidiary of Yahoo Japan Corp. recently acquired a regulated exchange called Bitarg and changed its name to Taotao on Feb. 4. The new trading platform began accepting pre-registrations on March 25 and is expected to start trading in May. Taotao will only support BTC according to the FSA's website.

E-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. has acquired Everybody's Bitcoin exchange which had been in operation since March 30, 2017. The exchange's name was changed to Rakuten Wallet on March 1 and the old service ended on March 31. The new service became available on April 15. Rakuten Wallet offers the trading of BTC, ETH, and BCH against the Japanese yen. Another registered crypto exchange, Decurret, also began operations on the same day, offering trading of BTC, ETH, BCH, LTC, and XRP.

Earlier this year, Bittrade exchange ended its service and began operating as Huobi Japan. The platform offers the trading of BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, MONA, and BCH. Meanwhile, Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange has finalized the asset transfer process from Zaif exchange after the latter was hacked in September last year, the exchange announced Monday.

Adding More Coins
All approved crypto exchanges have to declare what cryptocurrencies they will handle at the time of their application with the FSA. Currently, there are 19 approved crypto exchanges in Japan. The regulator told news.Bitcoin.com:

When a crypto-asset broker-dealer wants to add more crypto-assets or to change old ones into new ones to be traded on its platform, it is required to notify that in advance by the current laws and regulations.

Since some exchanges are owned by foreign companies, the FSA confirmed that "There is no difference between the registration process of a foreign crypto-asset broker-dealer and a Japanese one." According to the current law, "when a foreign crypto-asset broker-dealer conducts crypto-asset exchange business in Japan, it is required to register as a crypto-asset broker-dealer with the FSA after the establishment of a company limited in Japan," the regulator concluded.