Japanese Exchange Coincheck Eyes America for Expansion
Coincheck, the Japanese crypto trading platform that found new owners after it was hacked earlier this year, is now planning to offer services on the US market. The exchange expects to be licensed in Japan next month, according to the chief executive of Monex, the online brokerage which bought the troubled company last month.
Also read: Coincheck Resumes Monero Withdrawals and Sales
Coincheck’s US Plans – Part of the Comeback
Recognizing the need to “study carefully” the legal framework for cryptocurrencies in the US, Japanese exchange Coincheck is planning to expand its operations and its customer base in America, building on top of over 2 million accounts in Japan. No timeframe has been specified yet, but the move is under consideration by the platform’s new management. Its operator, Coin Check Co., became a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group in April after losing some ¥58 billion worth of NEM (~$550 million USD at the time) in a hacker attack in January – one of the biggest heists in crypto history.
“The legal framework for cryptocurrency in the US is somehow wandering right now – money transfer, commodity, security. And, the rules are different state by state. So, we have to study this carefully. But the short answer is ‘yes’,” Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto told Bloomberg in an interview about Coincheck’s future intentions. He also revealed that the exchange, which spent a lot of funds and efforts to improve security and restore confidence, is expecting to receive a license in Japan next month. Matsumoto’s comments indicated that bringing the trading platform to the US is also part of the plans for the comeback.
For many observers, the purchase of the notoriously hacked cryptocurrency exchange for $34 million might have looked like a risky investment, but the takeover has so far proven to be a positive move for Monex. Its shares have almost doubled in price since the news of the acquisition broke in April. Doing crypto business in the US may not seem like a great idea either, given that the company comes from Japan, a country known for its much friendlier crypto atmosphere.
A Different Perspective of the West
Matsumoto, however, has a different reading of the situation as he sees favorable conditions forming in the West, including lower taxes and growing interest from institutional money managers. France was mentioned in the interview in the light of last month’s government decision to lower the crypto capital gains tax rate by more than half – to 19 percent, compared to Japan’s 55 percent.
Another sign of the warming climate in Paris was the Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire’s statement this week that he was wrong about cryptocurrencies before. “I was a neophyte a year ago, but now I’m passionate. It took me a year, so let’s […] make France the first place for blockchain and crypto innovation in the EU,” Le Maire was quoted as saying at a meeting with entrepreneurs and representatives of the French startup Blockchain Partner. According to Bitcoin.fr, he also assured the members of the French crypto community of his “total support.”
The Japanese government does not plan any tax cuts for crypto-related incomes and gains and that, according to Oki Matsumoto, means that cryptocurrency will remain a “plaything for speculators.” Despite legalizing crypto trade last year, Tokyo has yet to determine the status of crypto-related financial products such as futures contracts, which will require some amendments to the Japanese securities law.
“Japan may seem like it’s one step ahead in crypto, but in terms of deciding what’s a security or a token, and in terms of attracting institutional investors, the US and Europe are moving ahead,” the chief executive of Monex said. In his opinion, the classification of cryptocurrencies in the United States will create regulatory clarity which is necessary to draw more investors. Matsumoto believes that the decisions US regulators take will influence the role of cryptocurrencies, in general, and have a huge impact on the crypto policies in his country, in particular.
What are your expectations for the future of crypto industries in both Japan and the US? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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