Tag Archives: Japan

Report: Several Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchanges to Close

Two Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have reportedly withdrawn applications with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (JFSA) amid the regulatory crackdown after Coincheck’s well-known $530 million NEM theft. These two new closures amount to five exchanges so far that have ceased operations in Japan since a law requiring exchanges to register with the JFSA went into effect earlier this year.

According to a Nikkei report, the cryptocurrency exchange operators Tokyo Gateway and Mr. Exchange are withdrawing their applications to register with Japan’s Financial Services Agency. On March 8th, the JFSA ordered both companies to improve their data security and other safeguards, which were found by the JFSA to be insufficient.

Ultimately, the JFSA order led to the exchanges withdrawing their previously filed crypto exchange applications, which is needed to launch domestic services, cease exchange operations and return clients cash and cryptocurrency holdings.

Coindesk reported that “Mr. Exchange posted on March 8 that it had received an order requiring it to beef up its internal protocols in the wake of the attack on Coincheck in late January. The incident resulted in approximately $533 million worth of the cryptocurrency NEM token being stolen.”

A law requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to register with the JFSA took effect last April, which is the same ruling that allowed the acceptance of Bitcoin as payment. According to Nikkei, “Sixteen have done so, while another sixteen were allowed to continue operating while their applications were under review.”

The Nikkei news outlet further reported on the JFSA probes:

These exchange operators are required to have data security and other systems on par with those at the 16 registered exchanges. But the FSA’s probes have so far found problems with corporate governance and internal controls. Some operators see little prospect of meeting with the agency’s standards.

CCN reported that on March 8th, the JFSA issued “month-long business suspension orders to exchange operators FSHO and Bit Station.” The regulatory team found major issues with cybersecurity practices and evidence of money laundering measures.

More application withdrawals are expected from crypto exchanges in Japan, as the JFSA is allowing exchanges to voluntarily close before being ordered to do so.

Leading crypto exchanges Binance had also been issued a formal warning from JFSA. Reports claimed that the JFSA planned to file criminal charges if Binance refused to cease operations in Japan, as “cryptocurrency trading services can only e offered in Japan by exchanges that are licensed by the JFSA or by those awaiting their license.”

In the midst of this regulatory conflict with Japan, Binance announced plans to open an office in Malta. “We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon,” Zhao said.

Binance Announces Plans to Open Exchange In Malta Amid Regulatory Issues in Japan

As reports surfaced recently highlighting a regulation-related dispute with Japan, leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that it is preparing to open up in Malta.

An article published by Nikkei Asian Review late last week reported that Binance would be issued a formal warning from Japan’s Financial Services Authority (JFSA) to shut down its cryptocurrency exchange operation in Japan. The report claimed that the JFSA planned to file criminal charges if Binance refused to stop operations in Japan, and noted that according to the revised payment services law, “cryptocurrency trading services can only be offered in Japan by exchanges that are licensed by the FSA or by those awaiting their license.”

Nikkei claimed that “the exchange has irked the FSA by failing to verify the identification of Japanese investors at the time accounts are opened. The Japanese officials suspect Binance does not have effective measures to prevent money laundering; the exchange handles a number of virtual currencies that are traded anonymously.”

Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, initially called the report “irresponsible journalism.”

As Zhao mentioned in his tweet, it appeared unusual that the JFSA would not reach out to Binance itself before providing its plans to news sources. Bloomberg reported that a warning to Binance from JFSA was eventually issued “according to a person familiar with the FSA’s plans, who asked not to be named because the information is private.” Zhao reportedly told the publication that while Binance has been working to obtain licensing in Japan, the exchange “decided to remove its staff to avoid a clash with local regulators.”

[RELATED: Binance to Launch Decentralized Cryptocurrency Exchange]

Japanese regulators have been working towards stronger oversight after Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck was hacked in January; more than $500 million worth of the cryptocurrency NEM was stolen in the incident.

In the midst of regulatory conflict with Japan, Binance announced plans to open an office in Malta. “We are very confident we can announce a banking partnership there soon,” Zhao said, according to Bloomberg.

“After reviewing several different locations, the company decided to invest in the European nation due to its existing pro-blockchain legislation and the stability that it offers financial technology companies through its regulatory framework” Binance stated in its announcement published on Medium. “With plans to substantially grow its operations, there are plans to eventually hire up to 200 people to assist their expansion.”

The announcement was embraced publicly by Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation.

Malta has been in the process of implementing a Digital Innovation Authority to “to provide legal certainty in the sphere of Blockchain technology and by extension cryptocurrencies,” according to a Malta Independent report.

Binance is a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange currently ranking #1 in daily trading volume. It was launched through an initial coin offering (ICO) where it sold BNB tokens, which can be used for lower fees on the exchange platform, and opened its doors for trading in the summer of 2017.

Japan Central Bank: Cryptocurrencies Are Not Competition

(DFN) Recently, Haruhiko Kuroda, the Governor of the Bank of Japan called cryptocurrencies “crypto-assets” and said that “cryptocurrencies are not a threat to the Yen and he doesn’t see them as a danger to existing legal tenders anytime soon,” as crypto-lines reports. However, central bankers have various and conflicting opinions on the issue, leaving potential investors across the world without clear guidance as to a future consensus on the issue.

At present, cryptocurrency retains an aspect of volatility, as noted by Kuroda’s and other central bankers. However, that may change as the ecosystem matures. As cryptocurrency’s practiical use for everyday commerce and other regular, transactional uses, the amount of speculation and volatility involved in its use cases decreases. At this stage, cryptocurrency could become perceived as a competitive threat to national fiat currencies.

Fiat currency’s adoption lead, once eroded, could lead to a cryptocurrency “flippening”

National currencies, administered by central banks, compete on a world stage constantly being traded to buy goods and services and being bought and sold by speculators, with the currency that has the most value to be bought and having the most stable future growth path dominating the marketplace. As volatility decreases with growth, cryptocurrency could join this stage as well. While providing new currency options that can be traded for goods and services, cryptocurrency would not be subject to the interest rate and money supply manipulation of national fiat currencies. Governments would no longer have monopoly powers of the currency their citizens use, and may fear mass exodus from these currencies to forms that are more transparent and less inflationary. This could force their interest rate,s and therefore debt, to balloon, presenting an even more stark comparison between fiat currency and cryptocurrency.

While there may be some ways to go before cryptocurrency viability as currency is acheived, this path has already been set in motion. Despite Haruhiko Kuroda’s comments, Japan stands as one of the most crypto-friendly nations in the world, with a growing number of businesses accepting Bitcoin and other coins for payment. DiscoverDash lists 682 businesses and growing that accept Dash, with rapid progress in areas of the world experiencing currency issues, such as Venezuela, which alone contains over 80 Dash-accepting businesses. The public release of the Alt Thirty Six platform may see an even more rapid growth, with thousands of marijuana dispensaries poised to accept Dash payments through the platform.

Dash’s competitive advantage in addressing volatility

Dash stands as one of the cryptocurrencies with the best chances at reaching wide adoption as a currency due to its higher network capacity and low transaction fees, in addition to its clear and stable plan for long-term growth. In addition, Dash continues to add partners and users all around the world at a rapid pace. Altogether, this potentially makes Dash one of the least volatile cryptocurrencies moving into the future, and thus one of the best positioned to compete on the national currency stage. This could provoke a change in perspective from central bankers, which may cause a reevaluation of the position that cryptocurrency is not competition, which may bring up fresh regulatory discussions on the issue in the future.


Written by: Justin Szilard

North Korea fires missiles into the sea as drills begin

As South Korea and the United States were about to begin their annual military exercises in the area, North Korea protested the drills, once again, by firing two missiles into the sea on Monday.

According to Reuters, the two missiles were fired from a military base on the western coast of North Korea near Nampo City. The missiles reportedly traveled about 305 miles to the east, landing in the Sea of Japan.

The missiles were fired hours before the joint U.S. and South Korean military drills, known as Foal Eagle and Key Reserve according to CNN, were set to begin. North Korea has always been angered by the drills, saying they are nothing but a “smokescreen” used by the U.S. and South Korea so the two countries can invade their country.

North Korea’s state-run news outlet, KCNA, said, “The situation on the Korean peninsula is again inching close to the brink of a war.” They also noted how the North Korean military will not remain “passive” forever.

However, as many people know, this is not the first time North Korea has fired missiles in protest to the U.S. and South Korean military exercises.

The 2013 drills, in particular, led to the North Korean government threatening nuclear strikes over the drills, according to the BBC. The drills went on as planned and no retaliatory strikes were ever carried out by North Korea.

Kim Min-seok, the South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson, said at a briefing Monday, “North Korea in the past did fire (projectiles) in a very similar manner… On several occasions, they fired (projectiles) from the west coast to sea off east of the Korean Peninsula.” Kim also said the drills were simply a warning against any “reckless” or “provocative” act the North Korean military may carry out.

KCNA however, said these drills are acts of “aggression” and they will be met with “merciless strikes.”

The South Korean Defense Ministry believes the missiles were either Scud-C or Scud-D missiles.

ISIS Demands $200 Million for Japanese Hostages

Amount Is How Much Japan Contributed to War Against Them

by Jason Ditz, January 20, 2015
ISIS is demanding a $200 million ransom for the release of a pair of Japanese hostages, seeking an identical sum to what Japan is said to have contributed to the war against ISIS.
Premier Shinzo Abe vowed to save the two men at any cost, saying their lives are the “top priority.” The two were identified as reporter Goto Kenji and military contractor Yukawa Haruna.

Abe’s chief spokesman suggested that recovering them was unlikely, however, saying that Japan’s stance was to not give in to terrorists and that this hadn’t changed despite what Abe said.

The profiles of the two hostages, as pushed in the Japanese press, appeared to be preparing the public for not getting the two freed, claiming the 42-year-old Yukawa was suicidal at any rate.

Game Of Thrones: US Antagonizes China, Fighter Jets Scrambled


By Michael Lotfi,

On the foreign policy frontier a new development seems to be taking root. Japanese and US special forces have been ignoring China’s most recent air defense zones. The zones have expanded to include several islands at the center of dispute between Japan and China.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, quoting Chinese air force spokesman Shen Jinke, “Several combat aircraft were scrambled to verify the identities  of US and Japanese aircraft entering the air defense zone.” China has warned that if the US and Japan do not submit to the new air defense zone restrictions then both countries will face unspecified “defensive emergency measures”.

According to the US Government’s most recent U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission, China’s military activities and investments have been growing at an accelerating rate. China’s defense budget has increased 10% in the last 12 months alone. China has also invested in its first aircraft carrier with great success. Furthermore, China’s sea-based nuclear missile system is expected to have reached operation status. The report also cites that last May China successfully launched anti-satellite missiles into orbit. In retort, the Chinese government said that the launch was simply a scientific experiment.

Today the Pentagon responded saying that the US has no intention of altering operations, regardless of China’s latest move.

According to Shen, the Chinese  fighter jets, identified two US surveillance aircraft and 10 Japanese aircraft including an F-15 warplane. “We’ll continue to partner with our allies in the region and operate as normal,” Lieutenant-Colonel Erik Brine, a Pentagon spokesman, told AFP.

Modern warfare is unlike anything the world has known. The Game of Thrones is now one of not only brute force, but currency manipulation, technological warfare, trade restrictions, etc. As the world’s super-powers continue to antagonize one another and build their arsenals, the world remains watchful.

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