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Coincheck Owner Is ‘Interested’ in FTX Japan as Bidding Deadline Nears

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
Source: piter2121/Adobe

The Japanese securities giant Monex Group – the owner of the Coincheck crypto exchange – has suggested that it may move to buy FTX Japan.

The status of the Japanese arm of FTX has been up in the air since its parent company FTX filed for bankruptcy last year. Strict Japanese laws governing the management of assets may have ensured that the Japanese platform has not been directly exposed to the FTX-related fallout. However, FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings saw wallets on FTX Japan frozen last year.

FTX Japan has previously announced that it is working on a solution that will allow customers to withdraw crypto and fiat next month – via the Liquid exchange.

But Monex indicated that it could make a move for FTX Japan. Bloomberg Japan quoted Oki Matsumoto, Monex’s CEO, as stating that it would be “better” if the Japanese crypto exchange sector were an “oligopoly,” rather than “a flood of exchanges” – as is currently the case.

Coincheck 14-day trading volumes. (Source: CoinGecko)

The Monex chief refused to comment on whether his firm would enter an official bid for FTX Japan, but stated that he was “naturally interested” in FTX Japan “in general terms.”

He further noted that it was “important” for Monex affiliates to “become one of a select few options in Japan,” but declined to comment further on a possible bid.

FTX Japan Under the Hammer – Will Coincheck Owner Make a Bid?

A bankruptcy court in the United States last week granted FTX the right to sell off its assets to pay off its creditors, paving the way for an outright FTX Japan sale.

The court ruled that potential buyers must submit non-binding preliminary bids for FTX Japan by February 1 – and that concrete bids for the platform would need to be lodged by mid-March.

An M&A move from a domestic player is highly likely. The Japanese crypto exchange scene is populated almost exclusively by tech startups and larger securities firms, such as Monex and its rival SBI.

Both have made bullish M&A moves in the past, with SBI snapping up the former Yahoo Japan-owned Taotao crypto trading platform in 2020.

Monex, meanwhile, has prior form in this regard. It bought the exchange Coincheck exchange in 2018, after the latter was the subject of a crippling hack worth some $500 million. The company also has US-based crypto interests, and has expressed a wish to expand into new markets.