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Crypto News From Japan: Week in Review

Japan is a friendly jurisdiction for cryptocurrency trading and development, having eliminated the consumption tax on Bitcoin (BTC) trading in 2017, after which it recognized the coin as legal tender. This week in Japan, a crypto exchange that was hacked earlier this year has closed its doors, while the central bank has come out as bullish on blockchain technology.

The Bank of Japan is keen on blockchain tech

Japan’s central bank, the Bank of Japan, is bullish on blockchain technology and is purportedly unconcerned with cryptocurrencies as a source of capital outflow from the country. Contrasting the BOJ’s policies and stances with those of its Chinese counterpart, an anonymous BOJ executive said:

“Because of fear of capital outflows, China regards all financial assets as enemies. But we are not worried about capital outflows. We are in love with the technology behind it (virtual currency). And interacting with the technical community.”

In contrast with Japan, China has a very strict policy toward cryptocurrencies, having banned financial institutions from facilitating crypto transactions. 

Almost one year after hack, Zaif crypto exchange closes 

The operator of Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif, Tech Bureau Inc., closed the exchange down on Aug. 22. In September 2018, hackers stole nearly $59 million worth of digital assets from Zaif. The firm Fisco Digital Asset Group subsequently said it would help Zaif cover lost customer assets by providing 5 billion yen ($44.5 million). In exchange for the funds, Tech Bureau agreed to dismiss more than half of its directors and corporate auditors and make Fisco a majority shareholder in the company.

Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Service Agency (FSA), had issued an improvement order to Fisco earlier this summer after detecting shortcomings in Fisco’s internal control systems regarding Anti-Money Laundering measures.

Connection problems with Amazon Web Services

A large-scale failure of the Amazon Web Service (AWS) led to connection problems for several cryptocurrency exchanges, including Japanese exchange GMO Coin. On Aug. 23, exchange clients experienced difficulties connecting to GMO Coin, which uses AWS to support some of its operations. Withdrawals and deposits were temporarily affected. Users of major cryptocurrency exchange Binance also experienced some difficulties.

Rakuten Wallet launches app for iOS

Rakuten Wallet, a subsidiary of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, launched its app for iOS on Aug. 22. Through the app, users can buy and sell cryptocurrency and withdraw and deposit yen from a digital account. Initially planned for September, the app has debuted ahead of schedule.

The app launch comes on the heels of the introduction of Rakuten Wallet’s new cryptocurrency exchange. The platform allows for spot trading in three cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ether (ETH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Cryptocurrency exchange offers leveraged trading

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Dekalet has begun offering leveraged trading for five different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple (XRP) , Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin (LTC). Leveraged trading involves borrowing money in order to invest in a certain asset and is usually a trading option recommended only for experienced traders. Dekalet users can leverage trades up to four times.

In addition to introducing leveraged trading Dekalet’s President and CEO Kazuhiro Tokita also announced that the exchange would be introducing a stablecoin, but did not specify when.

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