Hitbtc Crypto Exchange Suspends Operations in Japan

The eight ranked exchange quits Japanese market

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Cryptocurrency traders in Japan are not a happy lot after Hitbtc, the eight largest cryptocurrency exchange platform suspended its services in Japan.

The Japanese crypto industry has been facing regulations from the government since 2017. But it is in January 2018 that the Japanese Financial Service Agency (FSA) stamped its foot and introduced strict measures to control the crypto industry. The rules put in place required all cryptocurrency exchange platforms operating in the country register with the FSA. Since its inception, 16 cryptocurrency exchange platforms applied for licenses to permit operations. However, of the 16, eight  withdrew their applications for permits.Hitbtc was among them citing ‘high costs in complying with the FSA rules’. To that effect, they added a new section on their website under Terms of Service on Service Restriction in the Legal Information page informing users that;

“Our services will no longer be available to Japanese residents or for anyone who has become a resident of Japan. Services will also not be available to customers in any region or state that Hitbtc is not authorized to operate in.” They further clarified that the exchange will have users found with  IPs in  Japan required to verify their residency information through the KYC procedure.”

Suspending Hitbtc services

Although the firm’s services are no longer available in Japan, Hitbtc plans to offer services through a subsidiary. In a move to keep it in the Japanese market, Hitbtc has opted to work with a local firm to circumvent the strict FSA laws. Also faced with regulatory issues with Hitbtc is Binance.  In light of the new requirements Bitfinance is operating in the country illegally. This prompted the regulator to issue a warning to Binance and its representative Changpeng (CEO) Zhao through a letter. Like other exchanges, Bitfinance will have to either comply or cease operations.

The strict measures put in place by the FSA may seem to intend to scuttle the development of the cryptocurrency industry in Japan. To the contrary, FSA confirms that they are in place to curb illegal activities associated with cryptocurrencies. Japan legislated in April last year to legalize cyptocurrencies as a means of payment.

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