One of the largest US cryptocurrency companies, Coinbase, has unveiled its plans to enter the Japanese market in order “to accelerate the global adoption of cryptocurrency.” The company has been in talks with the country’s financial regulator to ensure compliance.
Coinbase Opens Office in Japan
Coinbase announced on Monday, June 4, its plan to enter the Japanese market. Vice President and General Manager Dan Romero wrote:
As part of our effort to accelerate the global adoption of cryptocurrency, today we’re announcing the launch of Coinbase’s office in Japan…we plan to take a deliberate approach to our rollout in Japan, which means working hand-in-hand with the Japanese FSA [Financial Services Agency] to ensure compliance with local laws at every stage.
Currently operating in 32 countries, Coinbase claims to have more than 20 million customers. “We support USD, EUR, GBP, CAD and BTC currencies for trading,” its website states. Other than Japan, the only other Asian country the company currently has a presence in is Singapore.
Romero emphasized, “As a regulated, compliant crypto company in the U.S., we will focus on building that same level trust with new customers in Japan.”
CEO Appointed in Japan
The San Francisco-based crypto company has also appointed Nao Kitazawa as the CEO of the new office. He previously worked as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley Japan and has spent several years as a member of an international law firm, litigating cases related to finance and real estate in Japan and New York.
Kitazawa is also the former COO of Money Design, a company that helped pioneer automated investment advice platforms in Japan. “As one of the industry’s top international leaders, Nao sits on the board of the Fintech Association of Japan,” Romero noted, adding that:
Our new office will lay the foundation for Japan’s crypto investors to access a range of Coinbase’s products…Coinbase services available to Japanese customers will be provided with Japanese language translations for ease of use.
Eying Japan Since 2016
Coinbase has been contemplating an expansion into Japan since at least July 2016 when it partnered with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), the largest bank in Japan and a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. “While we do not yet offer digital currency exchange services in Japan, we are committed to continue international expansion and look forward to working with BTMU to support this focus in key markets in Asia and globally,” Coinbase said at the time.
Since the Payment Services Act went into effect in Japan last year, all crypto exchanges in the country are required to be licensed by the FSA.
Japan already has a substantial number of exchanges competing in the crypto space. There are 16 fully licensed exchanges and 16 more have been allowed to operate while their applications are pending. In addition, the FSA has revealed that 100 more companies are seeking to enter the space including Yahoo! Japan and Line Corp.
Among existing exchanges, Bitflyer is the country’s largest crypto exchange by volume. Another popular exchange, Coincheck, was recently acquired by one of Japan’s largest online brokerage firms, Monex Group. Two other conglomerates are also operating crypto exchanges: DMM and GMO Internet. In addition, one of the largest financial services companies, SBI Group, partially launched its crypto exchange on Monday.
What do you think of Coinbase expanding into Japan? Do you think it will do well? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nikkei, and Coinbase.
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