Written by Kevin Helms, edited by Bruce Robin
Japan’s top financial regulator has revealed exclusively to news.Bitcoin.com the number of crypto exchanges seeking to enter the Japanese market. The agency also confirms the number of existing exchanges that have exited the industry, leaving only three applications currently being reviewed.
Three Quasi-Operators Are Left
Cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan are licensed by the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).
The FSA has licensed 16 crypto exchanges so far. In addition, it has allowed 16 more companies, including Coincheck, to operate crypto exchanges while their applications are being reviewed. These companies are sometimes referred to as “quasi-operators” of crypto exchanges.
However, since the hack of Coincheck in January, the FSA has stepped up its oversight of crypto exchanges. It has issued many business improvement orders and temporary shut down some exchanges. With stricter rules to comply, a number of quasi-operators began to withdraw their applications and exit the industry.
An FSA representative told news.Bitcoin.com that, out of the original 16 quasi-operators:
There are three quasi-virtual currency broker dealers still being reviewed: Coincheck, Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. [Minnano Bitcoin], and Lastroots.
Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group after the hack. While the FSA declined to comment on Coincheck’s specific application, Monex is hopeful that the exchange will be approved in September. Once approved, Coincheck will resume normal operations, including registering new members, Monex previously said.
FSA Never Stopped Reviewing Applications
Since the hack of Coincheck, the FSA began rigorously inspecting all crypto exchanges, 23 of which received an on-site inspection. The agency recently released a report detailing its findings.
No new companies have been approved this year, drawing speculation that the agency may have halted reviewing exchange operators.
However, the FSA confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com:
There is no such fact that we stopped reviewing process.
160 Interested Companies
The FSA revealed in July that about 100 companies were interested in applying for a license to operate a crypto exchange. Among them are Line Corp and Yahoo! Japan. Line recently launched an exchange, Bitbox, that serves customers globally except those in Japan and the U.S. The company is waiting for the FSA’s approval before beginning operations in Japan.
On Wednesday, the agency disclosed to news.Bitcoin.com the updated number of interested operators, stating:
Including preliminary consultation/inquiries regarding registration, around 160 operators are expressing their intention of market entry.
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