Crypto Exchange Kraken To End Services In Japan

Announcements, News | April 17, 2018 By:

US-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken will stop its trading services in Japan, citing rising operational costs.

Kraken, one of the world’s longest-operating cryptocurrency exchanges, had been allowed to operate in Japan without a license. It tentatively plans to cease all its services, which began in October 2014, by the end of June. But the exchange said it may come back in the future.

“Suspending services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas,” the company said in the statement. “This is a localized suspension of service that only affects residents of Japan and does not impact services for Japanese citizens or businesses domiciled outside of Japan.”

Kraken’s exit comes amid regulatory pressure for tighter standards at Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges after the Coincheck hack earlier this year. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) has ramped up efforts to ensure investor protection and has been conducting inspection of cryptocurrency exchanges to ensure that appropriate measures are in place.

As a result of FSA inspections and requests, two local crypto exchanges, Mr. Exchange and Tokyo GateWay, announced that they will cease trading once they have returned customer funds. Last month, Japanese banking giant SBI delayed the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange after receiving orders to further strengthen its security measures.

Having said that, Japan still remains among the friendliest countries for crypto businesses. Earlier this month, the government proposed a new set of guidelines for the legalization of initial coin offerings (ICO). The guidelines include rules for identifying investors, preventing money laundering, tracking progress of projects, and protecting existing equity and debt holders.