Category Archives: JVCEA

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Japan’s Financial Services Agency Hits Exchanges with Unexpected Inspections

Amidst a sudden drop in cryptocurrency prices at mid-week, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) reported that they had carried out a surprise inspection of two Japanese exchanges.

Bitcoin dropped 2.25% to USD 5,409.4 by 12:46 PM ET (04:46 GMT), after rising to a one-month high at USD 5,586.3 in the mid-week. The drop-in prices pushed the crypto market cap down to $176.7 billion after some notable gains over the past week.

The two cryptocurrency exchanges receiving an unscheduled visit from the official regulator, Huobi Japan, and Fisco Digital Asset Group, had no warning and provoked shock waves through Japan’s crypto community. Reuters claimed that the reason cited for the spot checks was related to both exchanges alleged inadequate customer protection and anti-money laundering (AML) safeguards. The news agency reported:

“The FSA conducted detailed checks with a view to administrative setup, considering that there are insufficient points in the management systems of the two companies and their efforts to protect customers.”

Prior to the end of 2018, the FSA received a wave of cryptocurrency license applications from exchanges granting the newly formed Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) the power to oversee self-regulation within the cryptocurrency industry. The country’s top financial regulator Toshihide Endo has suggested that the industry needs to grow under “appropriate regulation” and as such won’t need government intervention to further enforce curbs on how exchanges operate within the country.

The FSA has kept a close eye on crypto-related businesses and firms since the collapse of the Mt Gox exchange back in 2014. The agency regulated crypto exchanges by introducing a licensing scheme and conducting inspections of the exchanges for their security and compliance with anti-money laundering laws.

 

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Bitcoin ETF Approval Would Give EU Legislators More Confidence Over Crypto

In a change of stance on cryptocurrency adoption by EU legislators, who until now have been mainly fence-sitting on the subject, are indicating that ETF acceptances may create more positive interest towards easing regulation.

European legislators have recently stated that a Bitcoin ETF green light by the SEC could ease the current pressure felt by cryptocurrencies across Europe.

A recent report by the EU’s financial advisory group suggested that there was a continued threat to investors trading in cryptocurrencies arguing that, “These issues are not unique to crypto assets trading platforms; they may be exacerbated in the case of crypto-assets because of their high price volatility and often low liquidity.”

In an attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies and provide more safeguards, EU legislators are increasingly looking to organizations such as Gemini who have taken to ETF, despite their own problems in getting them recognized by the SEC, due to the body’s continual reluctance to endorse cryptocurrencies. Gemini’s joint CEO Cameron Winklevoss commented about their own problems with regulation:

“We understand the commission’s concerns. We’ve heard them loud and clear and they are basically calling for more market surveillance and protections in the marketplace to avoid, prevent against manipulative behaviour and stuff like that. So, Gemini has built a market surveillance team.”

CSO of CoinShares, Meltem Demirors, has a more negative approach to the prospect of Bitcoin ETFs being accepted by the SEC due to the current political stalemate in Washington, arguing:

“….in this current sort of stalemate where you have the Democratic House, and the Republican Senate, you see some clashing, there are very different views on financial innovation and what should happen, but I think right now there is no upside to approving an ETF.”

The Winklevoss Brothers have called for the introduction of a Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization for the cryptocurrency industry in the United States, similar to the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA).

The JVCEA was founded on April 2018 when 16 crypto exchanges joined hands with the ultimate aim of providing self-regulatory standards for the industry-wide investors. Later in October, it was officially given self-regulatory status by Japan’s financial regulator to supervise the crypto sector.

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Japan’s Regulator Swamped With Exchange Applications as New Year Approaches

Japan's Regulator Swamped with Exchange Applications as New Year Approaches

Japan’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA) is reported to have received 190 cryptocurrency license applications from exchanges as 2019 approaches.

This happened after the FSA recently granted the newly formed Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) in Japan the power to oversee self-regulation within the cryptocurrency industry.

The JVCEA had already applied to the FSA to become cryptocurrency’s one and only self-regulatory body in the country. It also attempted to stem the tide of transactions earlier this year when it recommended its own “appropriate regulations” for growth by proposing new rules that would affect the way exchanges operate, placing privacy coin listings and insider trading under the regulatory microscope.

Another tool for limiting the transaction surge suggested by JVCEA was to enforce trading caps and restrictions according to age group, i.e. the very old and the very young. The FSA regulator has already released figures showing that in April, there were 142,000 crypto traders in Japan. That monthly figure represents a small percentage of the total of 3 million Japanese traders.

Last month, FSA’s Study Group on Virtual Currency Exchange Industry concluded its tenth meeting. The group classified tokens according to three categories: virtual currencies with no issuers (like Bitcoin), virtual currencies with issuers, and virtual currencies that not only have issuers but also distribute profits.

The country’s top financial regulator Toshihide Endo has suggested that the industry needs to grow under “appropriate regulation” and as such won’t need government intervention to further enforce curbs on how exchanges operate within the country.

The FSA commented last week that:

“We think it necessary to work with the JVCEA closely so that the association can successfully perform self-regulatory functions through the establishment and application of self-regulatory rules and monitoring of their members.”

Japan is currently the global leader in the market development of cryptocurrencies, although, in terms of public adoption, many Japanese have suggested that the prices of cryptocurrencies must become far more stable in 2019 for people to use them for regular purchases throughout all sectors across the country.

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Japan Releases New Draft Crypto Regulations to Safeguard Investors

Japan Releases New Draft Crypto Regulations to Safeguard Investors

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) responsible for regulation has published a report outlining its proposals for changes to the current rules which govern cryptocurrency exchanges.

The main purpose of the updated rules is primarily aimed at addressing hacking incidents, self-regulation, deemed dealers, privacy coins, and margin trading. The framework, which also targets ICOs, was established after 11 meetings of the FSA study group.

Last month, FSA’s Study Group on Virtual Currency Exchange Industry concluded its tenth meeting. The group classified tokens according to three categories: virtual currencies with no issuers (like Bitcoin), virtual currencies with issuers, and virtual currencies that not only have issuers but also distribute profits.

According to the FSA, no major barriers prevent the new regulation becoming law and the heightened focus on cryptocurrency by the agency is thought to be a result of highly publicized hackings earlier in the year. The new laws are aimed at preventing such incidents by strengthening the management of customer property to safeguard investors.

New regulations will demand that exchanges have net assets “equal to or more than the amount equivalent to the currency and repayment funds” and also outline measures which cryptocurrency exchanges can employ to safeguard against bankruptcy.

Japan has been developing strict measures to safeguard the space since cryptocurrency began to gain huge popularity in the country. In October, industry self-regulators, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), were approved by the FSA to be officially recognized in its regulatory position.

Under the new regulations, Japan will refuse registration to those companies who neither “join the accredited association and conform to the self-regulation” nor establish self-regulation. There are currently “three deemed dealers” awaiting approval: Coincheck, Lastroots and Everybody’s Bitcoin.

Such companies are not permitted to advertise aggressively and expand their business while waiting for approval, nor are they able to acquire new customers during this period. Deemed dealers are also required to post their registration status on their websites to clarify their trading status for customers and potential clients.

The report also noted that ICOs “can be subject to the securities regulation” under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act or the Fund Settlement Act.

 

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Japanese Regulators Introduce New Crypto Exchange Screening Rules

Japan is to tighten some of its screening procedures for government approval for cryptocurrency exchanges.

A Japan Times report suggests that the Financial Services Agency (FSA) has “tightened its registration screening for cryptocurrency exchanges to see whether they are properly conducting risk management”, although the report hasn’t been confirmed by Japanese authorities.

According to sources, these new measures would essentially delve deeper into the nature of the applications than is currently the norm for applicants when making a case to operate in Japan, with a four-fold increase in questions. It is reported that possible links to antisocial groups will now be investigated and companies decisions making processes. The unnamed source stated on the weekend that the FSA had:

“…increased the number of questions asked when screening applications to about 400 items, up fourfold…Previously, the questions only covered such items as an applicant’s financial status and measures to ensure system safety.”

The FSA is cleaning up its act somewhat after recent hackings, notably following Tokyo-based Coincheck’s exchange was compromised to the tune of roughly USD 530 million. It followed this up by a series of onsite inspections recently which revealed that best practice was not being observed by many exchanges.

A key finding of the report following the last FSA inspections was that exchange’s internal control systems were showing signs of lagging behind, given the rapid increase of transactions; an increase partly accredited to investors climbing back into the market after 2017 recent falls. The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) had called for trading limits in line with FSA suggestions earlier this year.

As part of the newly heightened examinations of exchange applications by the FSA, the agency earmarked six fully-licensed crypto exchanges which have been served with business improvement orders. Also, 13 exchanges who are operating whilst waiting for approval have withdrawn their applications, indicating just how rigidly they expected to be examined under the new application guidelines. Only three exchanges are left operating awaiting vetting by the FSA: Coincheck, Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin.

Due to Japan’s vibrant cryptocurrency space, there are estimated to be about 160 exchanges hoping to enter the Japanese market. The JVCEA recommended its own “appropriate regulations” for growth by proposing new rules that would affect the way exchanges operate, placing privacy coin listings and insider trading under the regulatory microscope.

 

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Japan’s FSA: Finding Balance Key as Transactions Overheat

Japan’s regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has suggested that there needs to be a balance between consumer protection and technological innovation as the blockchain industry expands.

The government body’s top regulator Toshihide Endo has suggested that the industry needs to grow under “appropriate regulation” and as such won’t need government intervention to further enforce curbs on how exchanges operate within the country.

On-site inspections of Japanese exchanges by the FSA early this month revealed that investor protection remains a key issue but as the commissioner stated, the government has “no intention to curb excessively”.

A key finding of the report following the last FSA inspections was that exchange’s internal control systems were showing signs of lagging behind, given the rapid increase of transactions; an increase partly accredited to investors climbing back into the market after 2017 recent falls. The Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) had called for trading limits in line with FSA suggestions earlier this year.

The JVCEA, which has already applied to the FSA to become cryptocurrency’s one and only self-regulatory body in the country, had attempted to stem the tide of transactions earlier this month when it recommended its own “appropriate regulations” for growth by proposing new rules that would affect the way exchanges operate, placing privacy coin listings and insider trading under the regulatory microscope.

Another tool for limiting the transaction surge suggested by JVCEA was to enforce trading caps and restrictions according to age group, i.e. the very old and the very young. The FSA regulator has already released figures showing that in April, there were 142,000 crypto traders in Japan. That monthly figure represents a small percentage of the total of 3 million Japanese traders.

The JVCEA has suggested that the new borrowing limit for trading platforms in Japan should be set at four times the customer deposit when margin trading. Currently, there are no limits on how much cryptocurrency investors can borrow when trading in this way.

 

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Japanese Crypto Exchanges’ Self Regulator Applies for Official Status

The recently formed Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association has applied with the country’s financial regulator to become recognized as the official self-regulatory body representing cryptocurrency in Japan.

The JVCEA comprises of 16 licensed crypto exchanges, who are self-described as security inspectors of Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges. The association has gone to great lengths to cover all aspects of how exchanges should function, drawing up nearly 1,000 pages of self-regulatory measures. The JVCEA was formed by Japanese crypto exchanges earlier this year in response to a $534 million heist on the Coincheck platform.

The chairman and president of the organization is Taizen Okuyama of Money Partners. Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano is the vice chairman, along with Bitbank president Noriyuki Hiroeno. The other two directors are SBI Virtual Currencies’ Yoshitaka Kitao and GMO Coin’s Tomitaka Ishimura. The JVCEA has said in a statement that it hopes to contribute to “the sound development of the virtual currency exchange industry and the protection of the interests of users.”

Its application for certification filed with Japanese Financial Regulator (FSA) will allow it to become what it calls a “certified fund settlement business association,” which will provide “guidance and recommendations to members to comply with regulations, laws and self-regulation rules.”

The JVCEA is not the only Japanese cryptocurrency association, as two others exist; the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), and most crypto exchanges are members of one of these organizations.

The JVCEA has already proposed regulations in place which it would hope to make official should the application to become the country’s cryptocurrency representative body be accepted by the FSA. The new rules would affect the way exchanges operate, and according to local news sources, privacy coin listings and insider trading will come under the regulatory microscope.

As suggested before, the JVCEA will enforce their 4 times leverage trading cap limit rule and possibly enforce trading restrictions for both the very young and the elderly. It has been reported that the FSA would be entrusting the new body with “the flexibility to rapidly develop technologies and to combine technological innovation and customer protection.”

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New Japan Internal Regulator Flexes Muscles, Limits Margin Trading Loans

The recently-formed Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) is proposing to set a limit on margin trading loans. Margin trading is the process of borrowing money from a broker to trade in cryptocurrency when the investor or trader has insufficient funds to do so.

It has been suggested that the new borrowing limit for trading platforms in Japan should be set at four times the customer deposit when margin trading. Currently, there are no limits on how much cryptocurrency investors can borrow when margin trading.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA) has released figures showing that in April, there were 142,000 crypto traders in Japan. That monthly figure represents a small percentage of the total of 3 million Japanese traders.

Out of 2017’s recorded USD 543 billion of crypto trading in Japan, margin traders accounted for more 90% of the derivatives trading total, which was over 80% of the entire cryptocurrency trading volume for that year.

The proposal which is now set to be presented to the FSA may rebound on the industry as there is some thought that by setting limits on investors, this may well lead to some investors moving away from using cryptocurrency exchanges, although the proposed changes would allow exchanges to set their own limits.

The JVCEA, which is proposing the new limit, comprises of 16 licensed crypto exchanges, who are self-described as security inspectors of Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges. The association has gone to great lengths to cover all aspects of how exchanges should function, drawing up nearly 1,000 pages of self-regulatory measures. The JVCEA was formed by Japanese crypto exchanges earlier this year in response to a USD 534 million heist on the Coincheck platform.

The chairman and president of the organization is Taizen Okuyama of Money Partners. Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano is the vice chairman, along with Bitbank president Noriyuki Hiroeno. The other two directors are SBI Virtual Currencies’ Yoshitaka Kitao and GMO Coin’s Tomitaka Ishimura.

 

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Japanese Exchange Association to Ban Insider Trading and Anonymous Coins

Japan’s Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) is set to announce new laws on insider trading next week, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.

The chairman and president of the organization is Taizen Okuyama of Money Partners. Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano is the vice chairman, along with Bitbank president Noriyuki Hiroeno. The other two directors are SBI Virtual Currencies’ Yoshitaka Kitao and GMO Coin’s Tomitaka Ishimura.

The JVCEA comprises of 16 licensed crypto exchanges, who are self-described as security inspectors of Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges. It is proposing a ban, along with penalties for infringement, on cryptocurrency insider trading.

Also, the regulations may extend to “anonymity-oriented cryptocurrencies” on exchanges. These are currencies which can’t be traced to previous sellers as its felt that they could be used for money laundering purposes, such as Monero, Dash, and Zcash.

Other proposed regulations that are thought to become prioritized by the association relating to the protection of customer assets suggest a better management process for customers keeping private keys offline to prevent hacking opportunities. The publication further measure aimed at protecting customers:

“…exchanges will be required to keep their quoted rates from widely deviating from the prevailing market rates. Exchanges would also need to introduce circuit breakers to halt trading should a currency’s value suddenly surge or plunge.”

It is thought these new measures concerning private coins will be introduced due to earlier reports that if a major exchange were to handle a new currency this would cause a market surge, followed by the suspicion that the market had been manipulated. The new rules by banning the private coins will eliminate this risk, according to JVCEA.

According to the Nikkei Asian review, the association has gone to great lengths to cover all aspects of how exchanges should function, drawing up nearly 1,000 pages of self-regulatory measures.

The new requirement hasn’t gone down well with all exchanges, however. One exchange spokesman commented, “We’re being subjected to rules almost as tough as the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.” – the rules which govern securities companies in Japan.

 

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