Coinbase Conquers Yet Another Frontier Officially Expanding into Japan

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by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Coinbase Conquers Yet Another Frontier Officially Expanding into Japan
Photo: Coinbase / Medium

Coinbase is working with the Japanese FSA to obtain a license with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG) to be its prospective banking partner.

Continuing ahead with its aggressive expansion plans this year, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange ‘Coinbase’ is now expanding its operations to the world’s largest cryptocurrency market Japan. With this announcement, the San-Francisco-based exchange has a presence in over 32 countries, as of now.

The Japanese operations will be headed by Nao Kitazawa who is also a former investment banker at Morgan Stanley. In its official blog post on June 4, Monday, Coinbase wrote:

“As in other markets, we plan to take a deliberate approach to our roll out in Japan, which means working hand-in-hand with the Japanese FSA to ensure compliance with local laws at every stage. As a regulated, compliant crypto company in the U.S., we will focus on building that same level trust with new customers in Japan.”

In an email communication with Bloomberg, Coinbase spokesman Elliott Suthers said that the exchange operator is currently in talks with Japan’s own regulatory body – the Financial Services Agency (FSA) – to obtain a license in order to expand its operations in Japan.

If Coinbase manages to secure a license in Japan, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG) is to be its potential banking partner, said a person familiar with the matter. Two years back in 2016, MUFG invested in the crypto exchange and thus has been working for the international expansion of the digital currency exchange.

Japan has been one of the most crypto-friendly nations and is the only country to have passed a legislation in April 2017 in order to legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in the country. However, in order to ensure a higher credibility of the functioning of its crypto market, the regulatory body of Japan is seen taking several concrete steps to ensure that the investors’ interests remain protected.

Apart from Coinbase, other big corporate giants are planning to open their digital currency exchanges in the country. This includes some big giants like Yahoo Japan, messaging giant Line, and financial services giant SBI.

In addition to expanding its operations across different demographies around the globe, Coinbase is also bringing new investment products in the line, to cater to a vast spectrum of customers right from the retail investors to the institutional buyers. Last month, the company announced block-trading facility for institutional investors. This facility allows institutional players to place huge orders in the crypto markets without causing significant price movements and sudden swings thereby mitigating the volatility in the market.

The exchange operator also launched four new products for institutional investors wherein Adam White, Vice President and General Manager of Coinbase Institutional explained:

“There is clear demand from institutional clients and financial services professionals for more specific solutions with regard to cryptocurrencies that address their sophisticated needs”.

In addition to this news, Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam is said to be working with Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang and will be starting a new cryptocurrency investment fund. While commenting on Hung’s exit from Sequoia Capital, Partner Alfred Lin said that Mr. Huang “will remain a good friend of Sequoia, and we wish him great success.”

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