Japan: Exchanges, FSA and Bank Step up Crypto Developments

Tumbling prices appear to have done little to deter Japanese businesses, banks and regulators in their efforts to breathe new life into the country’s cryptocurrency industry.

Exchanges have been leading the way, with DMM Bitcoin, a platform operating under a Financial Services Agency (FSA) license, announcing yesterday that it will cut margin trading leverages from 5:1 to 4:1 as of December 26. Margin trading refers to funds customers can access in order to increase their buying capacity.

DMM Bitcoin’s move appears to demonstrate that exchanges are falling in line with the requirements of the self-regulating Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), an association comprising all of Japan’s FSA-registered platforms.

As previously reported, the JVCEA has been pushing for its members to accept a margin trading leverages cap of 4:1 as of next year. DMM Bitcoin says it will introduce the new cap after it has completed scheduled maintenance work on its website.

Elsewhere, there has been good news this week for customers of two exchanges crippled by hacks earlier this year. Fisco, the new owner of the Zaif platform, which was hit with a major hack in September has confirmed that customers whose money was stolen in the heist will be reimbursed by the end of this week. Fisco is also considering integrating the Zaif platform with its own exchange business.

And Coincheck, now owned by the Monex Group after the biggest hack in exchange history, earlier this week confirmed it had resumed a full range of services for all of the cryptocurrencies it handles – for the first time since January.

The FSA, meanwhile, is likely to begin work on a new set of cryptocurrency regulations, and is currently holding exhaustive study group sessions with blockchain experts. Per the FSA, its study group has been looking at issues including ways to wipe out insider trading, shore up wallet service security – and possibly rename “cryptocurrencies” as “encrypted asset” in legal documents.

The financial sector is also pushing ahead with developments. The First Bank of Toyama, which earlier this month announced it would launch a blockchain-powered stablecoin called FBC, has revealed details about the coin’s pilot.

The bank hopes to commercialize its token in October 2019, and yesterday launched the pilot, which it says will run until April 23, 2019. The bank says it is running the pilot in conjunction with Intec, a Toyama-based IT firm. The coin will operate on the Japanese Bankers Association’s newly developed JBA Blockchain Collaboration Platform, and will allow FBC holders to pay in the stablecoin at restaurants and stores in the First Bank of Toyama’s headquarters.

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