Coinbase Announces Plans to Expand Service into Japan


Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency wallet and exchange platforms operating in the United States, has decided to expand its operations to Japan, the largest cryptocurrency market in the world.

In a June 4 blog post, Coinbase Vice President Dam Romero announced that “Coinbase is coming to Japan” and launching an office in the land of the rising sun. “Fintech leader” Nao Kitazawa will take over as the CEO of Coinbase Japan.

Romero revealed plans to work “hand-in-hand” with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) to “ensure compliance with local laws at every stage.” In practice, Coinbase will apply for a license with the FSA by year end, a mandatory practice for all crypto exchanges operating in the country since Japan’s Payment Services Act was amended in April 2017.

Coinbase currently serves over 20 million customers in 32 countries. About $150 billion in digital assets has been traded on the platform since Coinbase was founded in 2012. The company reportedly generated $1 billion in revenue in 2017 and valued itself at around $8 billion when it acquired in April 2018 for around $100 million, offering an equity package as part of the deal.

Despite several high profile hacks of major exchanges, like the $530 million worth of NEM stolen from Coincheck in January 2018, the largest crypto heist to ever take place, Japan continues to enjoy one of the highest levels of crypto investment in the world.

About 14 percent of Japanese working males aged 25-30 admitted to investing in cryptocurrencies in 2018. As reported by Nikkei Asian Review, about 3.5 million cryptocurrency accounts operate in Japan, according to the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA).

San Francisco-based Coinbase may turn to former investor Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to provide banking services. MUFJ, which owns the Bank of Tokyo - Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU), the largest bank in Japan, made a “strategic investment” in Coinbase in 2016.

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