Coinbase, the best-visited service for US, European, and Australian buyers, is considering a move to Japan, to increase the global outreach of crypto coins.
“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,” said Vice President and General Manager Dan Romero.
Coinbase is available to the residents of 32 countries, with major pairings with global currencies. Coinbase already has presence in Singapore. To enter the Japanese market, Coinbase would partner with Mitsubishi UFJ Group, one of the largest global banking companies.
The news created speculation of a potential Bitcoin bull run, as prices are once again depressed, sinking toward $7,400.
The path to serving Japanese investors with a fully legalized exchange may be long. The company has already hired a CEO for the Japanese operations. Nao Kitazawa will build the Coinbase presence in Japan. Formerly, he was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley Japan, and has experience in fintech by running as the COO of Money Design, a company that brought automated investment advice to Japan.
Coinbase has set a year’s deadline to acquire a license and offer services to Japanese buyers.
The regulatory climate in Japan has allowed mostly large entities to run exchanges, due to strict regulations for transparency and security. Even Binance considers moving away from the country. Recently, HitBTC closed for Japanese buyers. Kraken also closed its services for Japanese traders due to cumbersome regulations.
However, SBI Group has managed to provide the complete set of procedures for compliance, and launched Ripple (XRP) trading on June 4.
Japan is one of the most active markets for crypto coins, with 16 exchanges applying for licenses. At the time of writing, the share of Bitcoin trading against the Japanese yen is more than 56% of the entire market, nearly three times more active compared to trading against the US dollar.