In the first release of its kind, the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) has published statistics on virtual currency trading. By March 31, 2018, as indicated by data gleaned from 17 different Japanese exchanges, there were a minimum of 3.5 million Japanese cryptocurrency traders.
The data was released at the first meeting of the digital currency exchange focus group set up by the FSA in early March 2018. The announcement is further evidence of the regulator’s work on ensuring enhanced transparency within the digital coin industry. The data’s release follows hot on the heels of the domestic Coincheck hack that cost investors almost $500 million. Japan recorded the theft of some $6 million in virtual currency in 2017. The traders identified in the data are all dealing in cryptocurrencies as assets.
Japanese 30-Somethings Dominate Trading
Breaking down the statistics, Japanese traders in their 20s make up 28 percent of digital asset traders. Those in their 30s show the largest representation, accounting for 34 percent of traders. Japanese investors in their 40s make up a further 22 percent of the trading community in the country.
The examination, monitoring and publishing of recorded data is for the FSA a first step in resolving domestic issues surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges. Japan has provided a safe haven for some after China banned digital currencies outright, however, the country is still tailoring legislation to address digital assets.
Although moderate in approach, the exchange hacks and potential for money laundering has alarmed Japanese regulators. Apart from the latest data indicative of the FSA working to define the arena, Japan was also vocal in stating the need for formulating regulations to govern digital coins at the recent G20 Summit.
The FSA also disclosed that, by comparison, the Japanese cryptocurrency margins and futures market had around 142,842 traders by the end of March 2018.
Futures are Where Japanese Volume Trading is Headed
One interesting trend that emerged from the data is that there has been a large difference in uptake figures for Bitcoin the coin, and Bitcoin futures trading. Annual trading volumes of these two varying investment types show that margins and futures are a firm favourite of the Japanese.
The annual trading volume of Bitcoin as a currency has grown from a March 31, 2014 figure of $22 million to $97 billion in 2017. That substantial leap; however, the FSA figures show it is dwarfed by the margins, credit and futures market for Bitcoin. That market has grown from a lowly $2 million during the same period in 2014, to a giant annual figure of $543 billion for the year of 2017 alone.