Japan, home to one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency userbases, is set to experience two high-profile crypto exchange launches this spring that could boost the prospects of digital assets that much further in the powerhouse G12 nation.
Those exchanges are Taotao and Rakuten Wallet, and they’re arriving on the heels of efforts by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), the country’s vanguard financial regulator, to more tightly manage domestic cryptocurrency margin trading enterprises.
Rakuten Gets License for Its Exchange, Rakuten Wallet
Rakuten’s cryptocurrency plans are advancing, as the FSA announced on March 25th that Rakuten Wallet had registered with the Kanto Local Financial Bureau and is thus greenlighted for launching in the country.
Rakuten, already Japan’s most popular e-commerce website, Internet bank, and credit card company, will now add a cryptocurrency exchange to its sprawling operations. The development comes after the company purchased, and thereafter rebranded, the Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. exchange last fall for nearly $2.5 million USD.
In their associated announcement, Rakuten said that the exchange’s former operations will be phased out by the end of March in anticipation of relaunching the new exchange’s services next month.
“Rakuten Wallet will support sound development of the industry, and provide a safe and trustworthy user experience by further strengthening its security and service offerings,” the company’s announcement noted.
Yahoo! Japan-Backed Taotao Is Coming Along, Too
Rakuten Wallet will be followed up in May with the launch of Taotao, a new cryptocurrency exchange that’s raised attention because of one of its investors: Yahoo! Japan.
Last spring, YJFX, a subsidiary of the Japanese arm of Yahoo, acquired a 40 percent stake in the crypto exchange BitARG Exchange Tokyo. The enterprise, reportedly purchased for around $20 million, has since been re-envisioned under the moniker of Taotao.
The new platform will start its formally-approved operations in using bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) as its base trading currencies. The firm also plans to offer crypto margin lending positions in bitcoin cash (BCH), litecoin (LTC), and the Ripple ecosystem’s XRP.
And Taotao won’t be Yahoo! Japan’s only recent crypto foray. Back in February, the company’s subsidiary Z Corporation participated in an investment round for Aerial Partners, a crypto tax consulting play.
If these two investments are any indication, they likely won’t be the last crypto-centric ventures Yahoo! Japan undertakes in the coming months. The question for now is how much further will the company look to expand its cryptocurrency operations going forward: is the pivoting a permanent shift or flexible experimentation?
Only time will tell for now.
Japan’s FSA Sees Crypto Margin Trading Rules OK’d
Earlier this month, the Japanese Cabinet approved amendments put forth by the FSA that will tighten rules governing the operations of cryptocurrency margin lending enterprises in the nation.
The approvals came after the agency first submitted a report at the end of last year that called for such enterprises to limit the amount of leverage traders could use on their platforms and to officially register with the Japanese government.
Now, with the amendments greenlighted, crypto margin trading institutions in the country will only be able to offer leverage that is four times the amount of traders’ deposits. That reconfigured sum stands in stark contrast to some other firms in the global cryptoeconomy that offer leverage as much as 100 times higher than deposits.
The new rules will go live in 2020. They come as the FSA has taken an increasingly proactive stance toward its domestic cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Last May, the agency released a five-point regulatory framework that demanded cryptocurrency exchanges in the country increase the security of their platforms in the wake of the devastating Coincheck hack, the largest in the history of the cryptoeconomy to date.