The Japanese financial regulator has approved one more cryptocurrency exchange, making it the 16th exchange to be licensed. As competition intensifies, some local exchanges are branching abroad in search for more volume and liquidity. Meanwhile, more merchants are embracing bitcoin.
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Another Bitcoin Exchange Approved
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has licensed one more cryptocurrency exchange. The Tokyo-based Bitocean Corporation is now the 16th company to gain approval by the agency to operate a crypto exchange. According to the FSA’s website, bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency listed to trade on this exchange.
Bitocean was founded in 2013 in China and Japan, its website states. The company is developing two-way bitcoin ATMs (BTMs) as well as a bitcoin trading platform. “We are working on setting up a new bitcoin trading platform in Tokyo while at the same time we are contributing to help with Mt Gox’s liquidation/rehabilitation process,” its website states.
This is the third round of approvals by the FSA. The first round was in September when 11 exchanges were approved. The second time was early this month when the agency approved 4 more exchanges, as news.Bitcoin.com reported. Meanwhile, Japan’s second-largest bitcoin exchange Coincheck has not yet been approved; Coincheck’s application is still under review by the agency.
Local Exchanges Expanding Abroad
As new exchanges come onboard, established trading platforms that were already approved by the FSA have been strategically expanding overseas. Nikkei recently reported:
Japanese trading platforms are expanding overseas in an effort to grow trading volume and enhance liquidity. Now that Japan has some 20 digital currency exchanges, there’s not enough business to go around, and investors are often having to wait to complete transactions involving infrequently traded currencies. These currencies also tend to fluctuate wildly when a big order is placed.
The country’s largest bitcoin exchange Bitflyer expanded into the US at the end of November and is planning to open an exchange in Europe. Other trading platform operators expanding overseas includes Quoine, which is launching in the Philippines next year. Bitpoint expanded into South Korea in November and is preparing to open an exchange in Taiwan in January. Bitbank is also planning to enter other Asian and Africa markets.
More Merchants Embracing Bitcoin
As the number of exchanges grows, so does the number of merchants accepting bitcoin payments. News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on a leading used car automotive group and dealerships embracing the cryptocurrency.
Recently, a variety of smaller merchants also started accepting bitcoin. One example is housing and facility construction specialist Hiroden Co. Ltd which started accepting the digital currency on a trial basis last month, with a limit of 1 million yen including tax. The company is located in Hirosaki City, a small town in the rural Aomori prefecture.
Last week a Tokyo-based stress care specialist called Stylefulness also began accepting bitcoin payments.
Earlier this week the Tokyo Campervan Rental Center Group, also known as Tokyo CRC, started accepting bitcoin at its five locations. Moreover, the group is offering a 20% discount on rental fees between January 4 to March 31 of next year for customers paying with the bitcoin.
What do you think of the growing number of crypto exchanges in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Japan’s FSA, Stylefulness, and Tokyo CRC.
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