Can Japan Be Noah’s Ark of Crypto Exchanges Under Rigorous Crackdown?

In the aftermath of ICO ban, shutting down local cryptocurrency trading exchanges and bitcoin mining limit last year. China authority is further clamping down cryptocurrency trading by blocking offshore crypto exchanges. All of these has made the industry gun-shy.

Binance, used to be China’s No.1 cryptocurrency exchange in terms of volume, on February 1 announced to users in China on its website saying,

“in accordance with relevant Chinese policies and regulations, Binance will not provide services to users in mainland China”.

Before that, domestic exchanges as IOST, UIP and KuCoin have already blocked IP access from mainland China.

At the sound of this announcement, a user of Binance asked He Yi, CMO of Binance about it, the chatting screenshot showed that Binance manages to block IP access from mainland China rather than Chinese users.

As the clampdown continues, many crypto exchanges and ICO platforms have moved their business activities overseas and registered companies there. Japan thus become the nearest and ideal destination especially for platforms from China as Japan has recognized cryptocurrencies as a legal method of payment.

Take Binance for example, founded in Jul.14, 2017, listed in Hong Kong and Japan, Binance is in a rapid expanding with 7 million site visits in just three months of existence. After the ICO BAN last September in China, Binance moved its IP to multiple offshore locations to avoid being affected by one regulatory body. Japan is the destination of its new headquarter. CEO of Binance has posted pictures in Tokyo office for many times, and it is reported by some We Media that Binance staff have even taken their family there.

Zhao Changpeng, CEO of Binance, post a picture taken in Tokyo office in November 20, 2017

He Yi, CMO of Binance, post a weibo saying they’re hiring in Japan

While the question comes-whether cryptocurrency operators moving to Japan means safe to them?

Xiao Sa, member of China Science and Technology Finance Law Institute, pointed out that,

“Since the revised payment services law went into effect in April of 2016, cryptocurrencies are undoubtedly recognized as a legal method of payment in Japan.

The law also requires crypto exchanges to register with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). It allows only registered operators, or those that have applied for registration to operate in Japan. Exchanges were given six months to register.

Currently, there are 16 cryptocurrency exchanges with a license to operate in Japan and another 16 are under review, including Coincheck which suffered a loss of 500 million NEM (USD$523 million) in a recent hack. Obviously, Binance is neither of the two categories above.”

* 16 cryptocurrency exchanges with license: Money Partners, Quoine, Bitflyer, Bit Bank, SBI Virtual Currencies, GMO Coin, Bittrade, Btcbox, Bitpoint, Fisco Virtual Currency, Zaif, Tokyo Bitcoin Exchange, Bit Arg Exchange Tokyo, FTT Corporation, Xtheta Corporation and Bitocean.

* 16 cryptocurrency exchanges under review: Minnano Bitcoin, Payward Japan, Lemuria Bitcoin Exchange (Bitcrements), Campfire Corporation, Tokyo Gateway, Lastroots Corporation, Debit, Eternal Link, FSHO Corporation, Kirin Corporation, Bit Station, Blue Dream Japan, Mr. Exchange, Bmex Corporation and Bitexpress Corporation

She also warms that if you operate with few knowledge about Japanese law, especially criminal law, you may face significant legal risks.

“Whether Japan will have a special criminal law of economy on the crypto world, I think it is possible, maybe just a matter of time.”

“And It is not easy to get a license competing with teams from local and foreign. Before a license is issued, it’s better to keep ‘quiet’.”

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