The Japanese government said today that inspections will take place at 15 unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges in light of a recent major hack. According to the Japan Times, the country’s financial services minister Taro Aso said at a news briefing that on-site inspections will take place at the exchange providers that have filed for licenses but have not yet been approved. The move comes after the Coincheck exchange lost NEM tokens worth $533 million at the time in a major breach in late January. The minister indicated the inspections will examine the exchanges’ technical safety procedures and management of users’ funds, the report indicates. The country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), had previously ordered all the licensed and unlicensed exchanges in the country to report on their security protocols and resistance to hacking in response to the Coincheck theft. The FSA has now decided that on-site inspections are required for unlicensed operators after appraising their reports.
Japan’s two primary cryptocurrency industry groups are merging to form a new self-regulatory entity following the recent $530 million hack of Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck. The unnamed new entity is set to launch April 1, the Nikkei reports, a year to the day after Japan’s revised Payment Services Act – which recognizes bitcoin as a legal method of payment – kicked in. The self-regulatory body will see the unification of the Japan Blockchain Association and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association. The former is notably founded around bitFlyer, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The new entity aims to quickly enforce self-imposed rules surrounding the protection of exchange users’ assets, system downtimes, insider trading and even advertising. Additionally, penalties for breaches will also be considered. All of which sums up to a transparent foray to foster confidence from the public and the conventional financial industry in the cryptocurrency space, particularly in the aftermath of a major hack.
Japanese exchange Coincheck has announced it will re-enable customers to withdraw their fiat yen deposits next week. In an announcement today, the embattled exchange confirmed it will remove the temporary suspension of Japanese Yen (JPY) withdrawals from customers’ accounts at the exchange. The suspension was put in place to ‘protect and ensure the integrity of customer assets’, the exchange said, after laying claim to the dubious honor of suffering the biggest hack in the history of the cryptocurrency era.
Cryptocurrency prices went south on Monday after Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) announced that it may conduct on-site inspections of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in response to Coincheck’s $530 million hack. The Bitcoin price led the retreat with a five percent decline, and most other top-tier coins followed suit.
As a rule, Japan has been very welcoming to the nascent cryptocurrency industry, and favorable regulatory policies have enabled the country to become one of the ecosystem’s central hubs.
How do you lose $400 million in crypto currency? That’s the question that one of Japan’s biggest crypto currency exchanges Coincheck is trying to answer. Coincheck’s co-founder Yusuke Otsuka said 500 million NEM coins worth about $400 milion were sent illicitly outside the venue. The news has spooked investors in Japan, where many investors are still wary of crypto currency exchanges 4 years after the Mt. Gox collapse, which was the world’s leading Bitcoin exchange at time, and Mt Gox hacking and collapse had crashed the price of Bitcoin by nearly 90% at that time from $1000 to $100 within a week. This new loss in Jan 2018 is one of the biggest of investor assets since Bitcoin’s launch. Japan’s Financial Services Agency is looking into the case.