Just as financial authorities were coming to terms with bitcoin, there's a new challenge on their hands: cryptocurrency derivatives.
This week, South Korean regulators moved to ban bitcoin derivatives, according to The Korea Herald. After the order by the Financial Services Commission, which was communicated via the Korea Financial Investment Association, firms exploring the products withdrew their plans. At least two South Korean companies reportedly cancelled seminars on bitcoin futures scheduled for next week.
Conversely, BloombergQuint reported that Tokyo's Financial Exchange has begun taking steps to offer bitcoin derivatives. The exchange plans to create a working group to examine cryptocurrencies in January 2018, according to statements made by CEO Shozo Ohta last week. However, a listing would require an amendment to Japanese securities law.
"Once the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act recognizes cryptocurrencies as financial products, we will list the futures as quickly as possible," said Ohta last Friday. "To achieve that, we will launch this working group to study various aspects, including bitcoin's present status, its outlook, and what form it will take root in Japan's society."
Japan's Financial Services Authority has quickly adapted to the cryptocurrency markets, so change could be on the horizon.
In September 2017, the agency appointed a chief of cryptocurrency monitoring and established a 30-person team to regulate virtual currency exchanges. Soon thereafter, the regulator approved licenses for 11 cryptocurrency exchange operators.
In late October 2017, the FSA issued a warning to business operators and users about the risks associated with token offerings (ICOs). "Deal at your own risk only after understanding enough the risks … and the content of an ICO project if you buy a token," wrote the regulator. "You should also pay careful attention to suspicious solicitation on ICOs."