On September 29, 2017, Japan’s primary financial regulator gave the green light to 11 cryptocurrency exchanges. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) officially approved nine existing exchanges and two new ones, according to the Chinese edition of the Wall Street Journal. Applications from 17 exchanges remain under the agency’s review while 12 previously-operational exchanges elected to close down, the FSA told Reuters.
Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, bitFlyer, is among those exchanges that received the FSA’s stamp of approval. On Twitter, the company posted a celebratory message, offering customers who retweeted the announcement a chance to win 1000 yen (approximately $8.80) through a lottery for 100 winners.
Flirting with a $70 billion market cap, bitcoin appears to be the most popular cryptocurrency in Japanese markets. For example, the 24-hour volume of bitFlyer’s bitcoin exchange (approximately $70 million) far outstrips the 24-hour volume of its Ether (about $880,000) and bitcoin cash (about $95,000) exchange.
Japan has moved swiftly to monitor cryptocurrency exchanges. Just two weeks ago, ETHNews reported that the FSA would appoint a chief of cryptocurrency monitoring and establish a 30-person team to regulate virtual currency exchanges. The FSA hasn’t procrastinated for even a moment. Also in the region, the Philippines recently approved virtual currency exchange, granting licenses to two services.
While Japan has quickly adapted and permitted experimentation in this new market, some nations have been far from accepting. China’s approach, for one, stands in stark contrast. As Japan approves exchanges, China has shut down trading activity and prohibited token offerings (ICOs).