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Yahoo! Japan Has Confirmed Entrance Into the Cryptocurrency Space

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Yahoo! Japan Corporation is entering the cryptocurrency industry through an acquisition of a stake in one Japanese crypto exchange already licensed by Japan’s top financial regulator, the FSA. The company announced this move on Friday adding that it intends to launch what it termed as an “easy-to-use cryptocurrency exchange” later this year.

Yahoo! Japan was founded January 1996 by Yahoo! in collaboration with Japanese multi-national conglomerate, Softbank. The company has continued to dominate the internet industry in Japan while Yahoo!’s popularity has gradually been declining since the early 2000s.

Through Z Corporation, Yahoo! Japan’s entirely owned subsidiary, the company confirmed its purchase of a 40% stake in a cryptocurrency exchange known as Bitarg Exchange Tokyo Company Ltd. Sources privy to Yahoo! Japan’s move revealed to media sources that the deal will likely be worth between 2 to 3 billion yen, which is about $18.6-$27.9 million. The other 60% stake is owned by Bitrag’s parent company, CMD Lab. Yoon Hee Yuan, the Representative Director of CMD Lab, said that “we have decided to expand our cryptocurrency business through this collaboration with Z Corporation.”

A stake in a fully licensed exchange

In March this year, the crypto exchange denied media reports that Yahoo! Japan had invested in it, saying that various possibilities were still being reviewed. However, on Friday, Bitarg posted a statement on its website announcing the collaboration.

“Today, we have decided to accept Z Corporation’s capital participation…we will be able to use the security expertise and service operation of Yahoo! Japan Group, making it easier for our customers to start preparing for the starting of the crypto exchange services managed by the firm, and also to improve operations after the commencement.”

Bitarg Exchange Tokyo Co. Ltd. was established in May of 2017. However, Business Insider Japan later revealed that the exchange had suspended its operations in August of the same year. The company would later, In December 2017, obtain a license to trade bitcoin from Japan’s financial regulator, the FSA (the Financial Services Agency). The news outlet has also revealed that even after being granted the license, the exchange is yet to resume its operations.

In a most recent interview with a local news outlet, Kentaro Kawabe, Yahoo! Japan’s Vice President explained that “The Financial Services Agency has stated that its review is going to be tightened for all new registrations of digital currency exchanges. It will be very difficult to get into the crypto space without acquisition of an existing exchange.”

The Financial Services Agency has been carrying out inspections of all crypto exchanges in Japan. It has also been actively issuing both business suspension and business improvement orders after the recent hacking of the Japanese exchange, Coincheck. Already, at least six companies have reportedly withdrawn their applications for registration to conduct cryptocurrency exchange services in the country. Several companies have received business improvement orders.

This development has triggered mixed reactions from various stakeholders in Japan’s cryptocurrency industry, with some people saying that the collaboration will probably increase Bitarg’s popularity.

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