Japan Approves 17th Cryptocurrency Exchange – Its First in Over a Year

It has been over a year since Japan’s Financial Services Agency last approved a cryptocurrency exchange to legally operate in the country. Coincheck, which was hacked early last year, has become the 17th fully-registered crypto exchange in the country. The exchange has made numerous improvements after it was acquired by Monex Group.

FSA Finally Approves Coincheck

Japan Approves 17th Cryptocurrency Exchange – Its First in Over a YearJapan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), announced on Friday that it has approved the registration of Coincheck as a cryptocurrency exchange. Under the country’s Payment Service Act, all crypto exchanges must register with the FSA.

The exchange’s parent company, Monex Group, also issued a press release on Friday with registration details. The announcement reads:

Coincheck Inc … announced today that it has registered with the Kanto Financial Bureau as a cryptocurrency exchange agency in accordance with the Payment Service Act, effective January 11, 2019.

According to the FSA’s website, Coincheck handles nine cryptocurrencies: BTC, ETH, ETC, LSK, FCT, XRP, XEM, LTC, and BCH.

After it was hacked in January last year, Coincheck suspended certain services “to focus on enhancing governance and internal controls by developing business improvement plans and carrying them out,” the company explained. On Nov. 26, services for tradable cryptocurrencies were resumed including depositing, remitting, purchasing and selling.

Coincheck originally applied for registration with the FSA in September 2017. While the regulator approved 16 crypto exchanges throughout that year, it continued to evaluate Coincheck. The exchange was classified as a deemed dealer, which means it was allowed to operate while the FSA reviewed its application.

Needed Improvements Made

In Friday’s announcement, Coincheck outlined six areas it had addressed in order to comply with the FSA’s registration requirements. The exchange has “improved governance fundamentally,” “revisited the business strategy and ensured customer protection,” “strengthened governance control by the board,” “clarified risks on cryptocurrencies being offered by the company,” “implemented measures on anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the finance of terrorism (CFT),” and “revised organizational structure to ensure validity.”

Monex Group made an announcement on Dec. 25, explaining to investors that neither it nor Coincheck offers “cryptocurrency mining-related business including cryptocurrency mining itself.” This clarification followed the announcements by GMO Internet and DMM.com regarding their own mining operations. GMO Internet said it will no longer develop, manufacture, and sell mining machines. DMM.com is reportedly exiting the cryptocurrency mining business altogether.

Furthermore, the company assured investors that it “does not conduct cryptocurrency transactions on its own account,” adding:

Coincheck Inc. does conduct cover transactions with domestic and overseas cryptocurrency exchanges speedily for the positions that resulted from the selling and buying transactions with customers.

The approval of Coincheck comes more than a year after the last cryptocurrency exchange, Bitocean, was approved by the FSA on Dec. 26, 2017. The hack of Coincheck in January prompted the agency to slow down the rate of approvals and began tightening its oversight of crypto exchanges, forcing 13 out of 16 deemed dealers to exit the market. Nonetheless, the FSA told news.Bitcoin.com at the end of last year that more than 190 crypto exchange operators have expressed their intention of market entry.

11.01.2019 / 18:20 37
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