Cryp­tocur­rency ex­change Kraken pulls out of Japan, cit­ing costs

The Star Malaysia - StarBiz - - Digital Trend -

TOKYO: Kraken, one of the long­est-op­er­at­ing cryp­tocur­rency ex­changes in the world, will end its trad­ing ser­vices for Ja­panese res­i­dents.

The San Fran­cisco-based com­pany cited the ris­ing costs of do­ing busi­ness in Japan for its de­ci­sion, though it said it may re-enter the coun­try in the fu­ture.

It ten­ta­tively planned to cease all its ser­vices, which be­gan in Oc­to­ber 2014, by the end of June, it said in an e-mailed state­ment.

“Sus­pend­ing ser­vices for Japan res­i­dents will al­low us to bet­ter fo­cus on our re­sources to im­prove in other geo­graph­i­cal ar­eas,” the com­pany said in the state­ment.

“This is a lo­calised sus­pen­sion of ser­vice that only af­fects res­i­dents of Japan and does not im­pact ser­vices for Ja­panese cit­i­zens or busi­nesses domi­ciled out­side of Japan.”

Kraken was ranked 10th glob­ally by vol­ume over the past 24 hours, ac­cord­ing to Coin­mar­ket­cap.com, with US$190mil worth of trad­ing. It had been al­lowed to op­er­ate in Japan with­out a li­cence.

The coun­try’s Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Agency has been con­duct­ing in­spec­tions of venues amid a broader ef­fort to bol­ster se­cu­rity.

Long seen as among the friendli­est ju­ris­dic­tions for trad­ing dig­i­tal cur­ren­cies, Japan has ex­pe­ri­enced trou­bles rang­ing from in­vestor fraud to the US$500mil hack of a Ja­panese crypto-ex­change this year.

Law­mak­ers have re­mained firmly sup­port­ive, how­ever, and are mov­ing to reg­u­late new ex­changes, rather than ban­ning them out­right.

Ear­lier this month, they took the first step to­ward le­gal­is­ing ini­tial coin of­fer­ings, a con­tro­ver­sial fundrais­ing tech­nique out­lawed in places like China and South Korea.

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