Japan is preparing to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange, entering an increasingly complex market. Despite cryptocurrency’s recent price dip, tech firms and entrepreneurs continue to invest in what they hope will be the next big currency exchange.
Japan, which was originally a joint venture between Altaba (formerly Yahoo!) and Softbank, will acquire BitARG Exchange Tokyo
in April and begin building a fully operating exchange, reports Nikkei Asian Review. Since the $533 million hack of Japanese exchange CoinCheck in January, Japan has passed regulations making the exchange of crypto more favorable to companies. Yahoo! Japan is now joining several other mainstream companies investing in the industry and developing their own cryptocurrency exchanges.YJFX, one of Yahoo! Japan’s subsidiaries, is slated to pay 2 billion yen (~$19 million) for a 40 percent stake in BitARG. Yahoo! Japan will then make further investments in BitARG through other subsidiaries, while YJFX will take the lead in designing the exchange’s own systems for corporate governance and security. The competition to be the leading crypto trading platform is already steep. In January, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, considered the largest financial institution in Japan in terms of assets, announced plans to launch an exchange. Banking group SBI, as well as Line, a chat app with more than 600 million registered users, announced separate plans to build company-run currency exchanges.
Given the rapidly increasing competition, Yahoo! Japan is planning a fast turnaround on getting the acquisition ready for use. The tech firm will begin its acquisition of BitARG in April and expects to launch it as a full-fledged exchange in 2019. Since BitARG already has a license from the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) to operate a cryptocurrency trading platform, this will presumably free up some time for the firm.