Japan’s SBI Holdings Pioneers Bank-Backed Digital Currency Exchange

Japanese financial institution SBI Holdings is formally launching the world’s first bank-backed digital currency exchange.

Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings said on Tuesday that its in-house digital currency trading platform VCTRADE is now online, paving the way for the world's first bank-backed crypto exchange.

SBI Holdings made the announcement on its website on Tuesday saying that VCTRADE is now open for business for Japanese users aged between 20 and 70. But our check on the site showed that registration for corporate customers is not yet available.

The announcement reads:

“Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to offer you this service that aims to reach a wide number of customers. We are now accepting applications to open new accounts for our virtual currency exchange service (VCTRADE) starting today.”

The virtual currency exchange was officially unveiled last month after the company implemented beta testing in October with a group of selected users who were pre-registered on the platform.

During its launch, the company said VCTRADE would initially support trading of Japanese yen against Ripple’s native token XRP, in a move that is consistent with SBI’s support for XRP in cross-border blockchain payments.

The company said in June it is offering:

 “The industry's lowest spread, as well as the world's best low-latency trading environment using the trading system (matching engine) of the leading US stock exchange NASDAQ.”

SBI Holdings’ decision to allow VCTRADE to offer fiat on-ramp for XRP makes the platform attractive for crypto traders. The company said it would later add Bitcoin and  Bitcoin Cash to expand the platform’s service. The decision to start with the Ripple protocol is due to the involvement with SBI Holdings with the Ripple international remittances system.

Today’s launch of VCTRADE comes two years after the financial institution first announced its plan to build a cryptocurrency exchange in October 2016. SBI Holdings was licensed by the Financial Services Agency late last year.

Part of the delay in the launch is due to concerns over security and regulation as well as SBI Holdings’ partnership with South Korean digital currency exchange Huobi. VCTRADE has chosen Secom Trust Systems, Co. to provide security to its platform.