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Japan’s Regulator Just Caught Another Crypto Intruder

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

Japan’s regulatory Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued a public warning to a supposedly Gibraltar-based cryptocurrency exchange, asking it to stop wooing Japanese customers.

Source: iStock/mura

The FSA sent a public letter to SB 101, a suspicious looking exchange with multiple landing pages that does not have an operating license for trade in Japan. The exchange is also not included among 234 exchanges featured on CoinMarketcap. The FSA says it has evidence that a Japanese citizen used the platform to conduct a transaction in the Atomic Coin cryptocurrency.

A screenshot of the SB 101 website.

The agency also points out that SB 101’s website has a Japanese-language section, as well as a Japanese introductory video. Neither Japanese-language content nor the video in question have been taken down at the time of writing.

The FSA is believed to have warned the exchange in private prior to the public caution – but presumably has been unsatisfied with SB 101’s response.

This is the FSA’s third public warning to overseas exchanges that the agency deems as enabling Japanese customers to trade on their platforms. The agency wants to ensure that all trading conducted on Japanese soil is done so exclusively via exchanges it has issued with operating licenses.

In March last year, the FSA issued a similar warning to Binance, after discovering that some 9% of the exchange’s transactions were being conducted by Japanese customers. A Macau-based exchange named Blockchain Laboratory was also warned off pursuing Japan-based customers in February 2018.

The FSA has previously warned overseas exchanges that they will fall afoul of Japanese laws such as the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act if they fail to attain permits before targeting Japanese customers.

Meanwhile, across the sea in South Korea, yet another major chaebol, or a large family-owned, conglomerate appears to be targeting blockchain-related business.

The Hanwha Group – which has subsidiaries in the chemicals, construction, leisure and energy sectors – has announced its financial and investment services arm Hanwha Securities has penned a memorandum of understanding with the Korea Society of Blockchain. The latter is an industry collective of South Korean blockchain startups.

Per Sisa News, Hanwha Securities says it hopes to “accelerate its digital innovation” by boosting its blockchain-related acumen in the wake of the deal.