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Coincheck Partner Ceres Indirectly Applies for Crypto Exchange License

Ceres, a Japanese rewards point operator, subsidiary Mercury has applied to become an officially recognized cryptocurrency exchange platform. Japanese legal authorities confirmed that Mercury’s application is now undergoing review.

Ceres has a partnership deal with Coincheck, another Japanese exchange that was last week was hit by a major hack.

Under a law introduced late last year, only government-approved companies are allowed to operate as cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. Eleven exchanges were initially granted operating licenses, with five more given permits in December, and 16 more companies hoping to join their number.

Ceres, which has made a name for itself in the rewards point business for PC and smartphone users, has been investing heavily in cryptocurrency and blockchain startups of late. Last year it announced plans for a cryptocurrency mining business with Mercury, which it says is now operational.
The company last year disclosed that it had bought a stake of almost 30% in exchange platform BitBank.

Should it be granted official exchange status, Ceres says Mercury will develop a range of platforms, including yen and cryptocurrency fund management systems, as well as risk management networks. Ceres also stated, “We will continue to promote cryptocurrency and blockchain-related business in the future.”

The market initially responded positively to the announcement, with share prices in Ceres rising by just under 2.5% after the news broke.

Ceres runs the popular job search app Moppy Job and point accrual sites Moppy and Mobatoku. The company says that its reward point operations are closely linked with cryptocurrencies. According to the Ceres website, “We think of points as a sort of cryptocurrency, and think our platform has a lot in common with crytpocurrencies like bitcoin. Our points can be exchanged for cash and digital money.”

Per Japanese law, exchanges are subject to strict government regulation by the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). The FSA this week stated that, following the Coincheck hack, it will be investigating all of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges for possible security gaps.

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