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Japanese Exchanges Hope to End 2018 on a High

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read

Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges are ending the week with a flurry of activity, with overseas expansions, new listings – and optimistic predictions for 2019.

Source: Etsy

The industry’s newest official exchange, SBI Group’s SBI Virtual Currencies, began trading Ethereum (ETH) as of Friday 14, per an official announcement. The platform is still to resume Bitcoin Cash trading, however, following a suspension in trading around the time of last month’s hard fork news. Despite bold claims about becoming Japan’s top-billing exchange platform ahead of the SBI Virtual Currencies launch, the company has been taking a cautious approach to listing tokens, with Bitcoin and Ripple the only other cryptocurrencies added so far.

Meanwhile, rival BITpoint has overseen the launch of an exchange in Panama. BITpoint Panama says it will be offering United States dollar trading with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin. The company already operates exchanges in South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan – while a mainland China branch was forced to cease trading following the crypto-crackdown of September 2017. The latest move, however, represents the first time BITpoint has looked to expand beyond Asia.

And Coincheck’s president Toshihiko Katsuya has told reporters that the country’s crypto investors have cause for optimism going into 2019. Per Business Insider Japan, Katsuya stated, “There is a considerable need for the use of cryptocurrencies for payments and remittance. Not only are [cryptocurrencies] now attractive as assets, but the call for fintech-powered settlement and remittance is set to increase.”

Coincheck is still yet to receive an unequivocal blessing from the regulatory Financial Services Agency (FSA), which downgraded the company’s status from a fully licensed platform to “deemed dealer” status following January’s crippling hack. This is despite assurances from the company that, following its takeover by the Monex Group, it now meets all FSA stability and security requirements.

Elsewhere, Reuters reports that crypto-keen holding company SoftBank will look to offload its shares in NVIDIA “early next year,” as mining profitability continues to suffer. SoftBank owns around 5% of NVIDIA’s shares, and could stand to make USD 3 billion from the sale.

SoftBank is the majority stakeholder in Yahoo Japan – which bought a 40% stake in the FSA-licensed BitARG platform earlier this year, and plans to launch a Japanese exchange in its own name. SoftBank has also expressed its keenness to develop blockchain-powered remittance services through its banking business. The company also invested in a Jakarta-based blockchain incubator earlier this year.