The virtual currency exchange operators in Japan will be required to register with the country’s financial services watchdog – the Financial Services Agency (FSA), according to a law amendment, passed by Japan’s parliament. Thus the FSA will have the authority to conduct on-site inspections and issue administrative orders as needed.
The new rule defines virtual currencies as “asset-like values” that can be used in making payments and can be transferred digitally. The revised law will go into effect within a year of its promulgation.
According to the English-language site Japan Times, the new regulation was welcomed by the operators as it would improve the trust in cryptocurrencies. They also said they were expecting their new legal status to attract more companies, including the big Japanese corporations, into the virtual currencies market and facilitate their use.
Japan is one of the leaders in cryptocurrency use. Only recently the major exchange bitFlyer launched an online store accepting payments in bitcoin, while DMM.com – a major online entertainment and shopping platform teamed up with the cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck and started accepting payments in bitcoin.
The amendments come after the 2014 collapse of Mt. Gox – a large Japanese cryptocurrency exchange handling over 70% of the global bitcoin transactions back then. The investigation during the liquidation process found that 800 000 bitcoins were missing – most likely stolen from Mt. Gox’ hot wallet over a long period of time. Since then around 202 000 (approximately $91.2 million) of them have been found. Meanwhile, also on Wednesday, the trustee handling the Mt. Gox bankruptcy, released an update that the claims of all 24 750 creditors have been reviewed and they amount to a little over $2.4 trillion. The claimants should use a special section on the website of the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange to confirm their status and they will receive e-mail notifications on their claim status.