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Japan and Korea Officially Approve Their Biggest Crypto Exchanges

South Korea’s Internet & Security Agency (KISA) has granted an important certification to the country’s leading cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb. Meanwhile, in Japan, Coincheck, the country’s largest exchange, is now registered with the Financial Services Agency. 

Bithumb Granted ISMS Certification

Cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has managed to obtain Information Security Management System certification from the country’s KISA.

According to the official release, this is the highest certification system in the country. Cryptocurrency exchanges, which earn more than $8.99 million are required by law to obtain this certification.

The company says it will continue working on increasing its security. Speaking on the matter, a Bithumb’s representative said:

We are going to continue to establish the industry’s best security system that can be safe and trustworthy. […] We are going to become a global business that will lead the cryptocurrency exchange market by establishing a safe and trustworthy cryptocurrency exchange.

In July 2016, Bithumb was hacked, resulting in the theft of more than $31 million worth of cryptocurrencies. The company confirmed that it will reimburse all affected users.

Japan’s Coincheck Completes FSA Registration

In another important event, one of Japan’s bigger cryptocurrency exchanges has managed to complete the registration process under the Registration Review Process of Virtual Currency Exchange issued by the country’s Financial Services Agency.


At the beginning of 2018, Coincheck was also hacked resulting in the theft of $420 million in XEM tokens. The company compensated its users and later got acquired by Monex Group – a Japanese-based financial services firm.

Korea and Japan are both prominent countries when it comes to bitcoin trading. According to Coinhills, the Japanese Yen (JPY) is the second most traded national currency for bitcoins after the USD, comprising almost 42 percent of all trading.

The Korean Won (KRW), on the other hand, is the third most traded national currency for BTC.

What do you think of Japan and South Korea approving some of their major cryptocurrency exchanges? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

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Coincheck Wins Crypto Exchange License 12 Months After Major Hack

Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, which suffered a $530 million hack in January of last year, is now a licensed entity.

Monex Group, the Japan-based online brokerage firm that acquired Coincheck for $33.5 million following the cyberattack, announced Friday that the exchange is now registered with the Kanto Financial Bureau, under the country’s Payment Service Act, effective immediately.

The license was approved by the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), on the basis of Coincheck’s improved risk management and governance systems with “concrete internal controls and customer protection in mind,” Monex said.

Following the massive hack of around 500 million NEM tokens in January 2018, the FSA had ordered Coincheck to strengthen its security systems and submit a business management improvement plan to the authority. At the time, the exchange was not registered with the regulator.

The breach also forced Coincheck to suspend its services for some months. Since then, the exchange has been phasing back in its operations. By November 2018, it had reinstated services for all listed cryptos on its platform.

Now with the license in place, Coincheck joins the growing list of regulated crypto exchanges in the country, including financial services giant SBI Holdings, which operates a registered platform called VCTRADE. U.S.-based exchange unicorn Coinbase has previously said it expects to become licensed in Japan in 2019.

All crypto exchanges in Japan came under anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) rules in April of 2017 when the country’s legislature passed the Payment Service Act and recognized bitcoin as a legal method of payment.

Over 160 firms are planning to apply for the crypto exchange license, the FSA said back in September, adding that it is looking to increase its staffing levels to speed up the review process.

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Coincheck Reopens New Signups, Deposits and Withdrawals of ‘Some’ Cryptocurrencies

Hacked Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck continues to reboot itself following a multimillion-dollar hack in January.

Monex Group, the Japanese internet broker that purchased hacked cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, announced it had reopened new account signups and limited trading in a statement Tuesday, Oct. 30.

The latest phase of a step-by-step reboot of Coincheck, Monex added users could also begin depositing and purchasing certain cryptocurrencies.

“…Here we announce that Coincheck has resumed ‘new account openings’ and ‘customers’ depositing and purchasing some cryptocurrencies’ services today,” the statement reads.

From Tuesday, users will be able to deposit four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Purchase options now extend once more to the three altcoins, Bitcoin having continued to be available in the intervening period since Monex took over.

In future, Ethereum (ETH), NEM (XEM), Lisk (LSK), Ripple (XRP) and Factom (FCT) will return to Coincheck, “if the services are confirmed safe and become ready to be offered,” the statement adds.

For those choosing to open a new account on the platform, Monex advised a strict know-your-customer (KYC) process would be in place, in line with regulations demanded from exchanges by Japanese regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

Fiscal results published by Monex yesterday, Oct. 29, revealed that Coincheck saw a 66 percent decline in revenue for Q3 2018.

Monex purchased Coincheck for around $33.5 million in April, outlining plans to relaunch the exchange in full compliance with local regulations.

In January, hackers stole funds from Coincheck at the time worth an estimated $534 million.

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Japan to Focus Cryptocurrency Regulation on Speculative Investments

The Financial Services Agency, the government agency that oversees banking, securities, and exchange services in Japan, plans to set up stricter requirements on cryptocurrencies and its use for speculative purposes.

Japan Regulator May Impose Cap on Cryptocurrency Trading Leverage

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have mainly become tools for speculative investment in recent months. Recently, a DEA agent explained that around 90% of all Bitcoin moving between wallets used to be associated with crimes. The number has fallen dramatically to 10% with the rise of the virtual currency market, particularly in late 2017, as investors and traders entered the space with fear of missing out on the new and trendy asset class.

The five largest cryptocurrencies were responsible for a trading volume of ¥69 trillion in fiscal 2017 in Japan, with users reaching 3.5 million. Instead of using virtual coins for payments, the Japanese mostly traded in search of profit, a senior official of a major cryptocurrency exchange told Japan Times.

“Young users who had previously no connection (with cryptocurrencies) have increased at a breathless pace.”

Margin trading is behind the cryptocurrency trading explosion in Japan as investors are offered leverage by online trading companies in order to seek higher exposure while having little capital. The virtual currency market has no leverage cap, unlike the Forex market which is limited to 25:1 leverage in Japan. This is due to being outside the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. The market is also exempt from regulatory requirements covering anti-insider trading and other issues the financial services industry is subject to.

What the FSA now recognizes is that they mostly focused on payments and remittances for their cryptocurrency regulation via the revised the Payment Services Act in April 2017. These security measures for the cryptocurrency space don’t cover the use of virtual currencies as speculative investment assets.

Japan FSA Concerned Over Future Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacks

Contrary to the FSA’s expectations, the Japanese people, as well as the rest of the world, found the cryptocurrency market as an investment opportunity, not only by simply holding Bitcoin et al. but also through investing in initial coin offerings that have become popular since 2017. The Coincheck hack in January 2018 also exposed the vulnerabilities of exchange operators in Japan. Instead of focusing on payments, regulation must be set up to protect investors in the cryptocurrency space, an expert told Japan Times.

“Virtual currencies should be positioned as assets for investment, while a legal system to protect investors needs to be established as a matter of urgency.”

The Financial Services Agency set up a working group in April 2018 to make corrections to the current regulation in order to focus on the actual practice of the market, including margin trading and insider trading.

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