Kraken cryptocurrency exchange suspends all service in Japan

Posted: 18 April 2018 3:30 pm
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Kraken may have been driven out, temporarily, by rising compliance expenses.

Kraken is one of the world's oldest cryptocurrency exchanges, and it has taken in millions in financing from Japanese investors over the years. Now it's withdrawing from the country, CCN reports.

"Suspending services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas. This is a localized suspension of service that only affects residents of Japan and does not impact services for Japanese citizens or businesses domiciled outside of Japan," Kraken announced.

The exit is most likely to due to rising regulatory costs, which might outweigh the gains in that particular market. It's not the first time Kraken has been left in this position, and previously it has been forced out of specific US states for the same reason.

Japan is currently in a state of tightening cryptocurrency regulations, with other exchanges like Binance receiving unwelcome notices of their own. In response, Binance said that it was working with Japan's regulators to get in line with national laws, and criticised the prominent Nikkei news outlet for jumping the gun on releasing a piece saying that Binance was being kicked out.

Despite the tightening regulatory lens over the islands, Japan remains one of the world's most crypto-keen countries.

Japan's MUFG banking giant previously started moving into the cryptocurrency space, and the government and other financial institutions have made moves to embrace the tech in a sensible fashion. And as of February 2018, the Japanese yen accounted for more than half of all the fiat currency to be transferred into bitcoin.

Japan got early exposure to bitcoin and cryptocurrency, with one of the world's then-largest exchanges, Mt Gox, being based in Tokyo. The exchange went under following a disastrous hack attack years ago, but the hundreds of thousands of bitcoin held on the exchange at the time are still in Japan.

Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC, NANO

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