Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck accepted a takeover offer from Monex Group, Japan’s third-largest online brokerage. The news of the possible takeover bid came on Tuesday, and today the information has been finally confirmed.
Coincheck is a Bitcoin wallet and exchange service founded by Koichiro Wada and Yusuke Otsuka. Headquartered in Tokyo, it operates exchanges between bitcoin/ethereum and fiat currencies in Japan, and bitcoin transactions and storage in some countries worldwide.
In January this year, Coincheck was at the center of the largest-ever digital currency theft. The company suffered a loss of cryptocurrency owned by its customers worth $530 million in NEM tokens at the time and was criticized for not having proper security measures in place to prevent the breach. After the theft, Coincheck started its recovery effort. It began distributing reparations to customers impacted by the NEM theft.
Monex Group, a holding company which provides online brokerage and financial services through its subsidiaries, expects that financial technology services using blockchainwill become the core of its business. By acquiring Coincheck with its technologies and an attractive customer base, the company plans to improve its competitiveness.
The takeover offer includes capital in several billion yen, worth tens of millions of dollars. The exact form of the investment is still being finalized, with details to be announced on Friday.
The takeover also means some changes to the executive team in order to regain investor trust. As soon as Coincheck receives the new capital, its founding president Koichiro Wada and chief operating officer Yusuke Otsuka are expected to step down. Monex’s chief operating officer, Toshihiko Katsuya, will take over as new president.
Coincheck has seen struck with two business improvement orders from the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the country’s’ financial regulator. The FSA decided to require a license for all cryptocurrency exchanges under a revised fund settlement law that came into force in April last year. It has issued licenses to sixteen domestic exchange operators, and Coincheck isn’t among them yet.
Currently the Tokyo-based exchange is applying for a license with the FSA which demanded an overhaul of the exchange’s operations and clarification of management responsibility. The FSA will decide whether Coincheck qualifies after reviewing its operations under Monex.