Yahoo! Japan has confirmed that it is entering the crypto space by acquiring a stake in a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that is already licensed by the country’s financial regulator. The company plans to launch a crypto exchange in the fall of this year
Yahoo! Enters the Crypto Space
Yahoo! Japan Corporation (TYO: 4689) announced on Friday that it is entering the cryptocurrency space. The company expects to launch an “easy-to-use exchange” for cryptocurrencies in the fall of this year, Nikkei elaborated.
Founded in January 1996 as a joint venture between Yahoo! and Japanese multinational conglomerate Softbank, Yahoo! Japan continues to dominate the Japanese internet industry while Yahoo! has been declining in popularity since the late 2000s.
Through its wholly owned subsidiary Z Corporation, Yahoo! Japan confirmed the purchase of a 40 percent stake in a crypto exchange called Bitarg Exchange Tokyo Co. Ltd. A person familiar with the matter said that the deal is likely to “total 2 billion to 3 billion yen ($18.6 million to $27.9 million),” Reuters reported. The remaining 60% is still owned by CMD Lab, the parent company of Bitarg.
“We decided to expand the virtual currency business by collaborating with Z Corporation,” CMD Lab Representative Director Yoon Hee Yuan confirmed.
A Stake in a Licensed Exchange
Last month, Bitarg denied reports of Yahoo! Japan’s investment in the company, stating that many possibilities were being explored. However, Bitarg posted a notice on its website on Friday, stating:
Today, the company decided to accept capital participation from Z Corporation…the company will be able to utilize the service operation and security expertise of the Yahoo Japan Group, which will make it easier for customers, [in order] to prepare for the start of the exchange service managed by the company and to improve the operation after the commencement.
Bitarg was established in May of last year. However, the exchange temporarily suspended its service in August 2017, according to Business Insider Japan. The company received a license from the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to trade bitcoin (BTC) in December of last year. According to the news outlet, the exchange service has not resumed as of April 13.
In a recent interview with Sankei, Yahoo! Japan Vice President Kentaro Kawabe explained:
The FSA is stating that [their] review will be tightened for new registrations of virtual currency exchanges, and it will be difficult to enter [the space] without [the] acquisition [of existing exchanges].
The FSA has been inspecting all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country and actively issuing business improvement and business suspension orders, following the hack of Coincheck. Six companies have already withdrawn their applications to operate crypto exchanges in the country.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitarg, CMD Lab, and Yahoo! Japan.