Japan's largest cryptocurrency exchange is putting down roots in America. On November 28, 2017, bitFlyer announced the launch of bitFlyer USA, a San Francisco-based division. ETHNews previously reported on the exchange's anticipated expansion.
After being granted a BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), bitFlyer's American subsidiary claims it can offer its services in 40 states and the District of Columbia. According to the NYDFS release, "bitFlyer USA is approved to offer an online digital currency exchange and trading platform as well as provide custodial wallet services for the Bitcoin digital currency."
The US subsidiary will reportedly cater to institutional investors – those who conduct virtual currency transactions totaling at least $100,000 per month. It's not immediately apparent if or when bitFlyer USA will offer trading options for Ether or other cryptocurrencies.
Yuzo Kano, the exchange's CEO, said, "The BitLicense propels bitFlyer forward in our mission to make the world simpler through blockchain. DFS' rigorous application ensures only the most safe [sic] and compliant firms can operate in New York." He continued, "The US team has worked closely with DFS through the application process and we appreciate the relationship we've built with them."
Other companies that have received BitLicenses include Circle, Ripple, and Coinbase.
In the year to date, bitFlyer – which is backed by Digital Currency Group – claims to have transacted $100 billion in bitcoin volume. Licensed by Japan's Financial Services Agency in September 2017, the company currently supports more than 800,000 customers in Japan and provides trading support for bitcoin (BTC/JPY), bitcoin cash (BCH/BTC), and Ethereum (ETH/BTC).
In a statement, Bartek Ringwelski, COO of bitFlyer USA, said, "With the start of the bitFlyer USA business, the cross-border transaction between Japan and the US will be possible soon. With our service, we can offer unprecedented liquidity to institutional investors in the United States through high-speed trading through WEB interface or API."
The international expansion of cryptocurrency exchanges has been noted before. As China slammed the door on cryptocurrency trade in October 2017, exchanges pivoted, preparing to enter other markets and beginning over-the-counter trading services. As bitcoin surpasses $10,000 and institutional investors signal growing interest, the competition to provide trading platforms is heating up. Operating cryptocurrency exchanges is obviously lucrative and as new money flows in, these are the businesses selling pickaxes and pans during the digital gold rush.