Binance Re-Enters Japanese Crypto Market With Acquisition of FSA-Regulated Exchange

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  • The announcement comes amid regulatory concerns by the Japanese financial watchdog against the exchange.
  • Japan has been keen to regulate the crypto space since the collapse of Mt. Gox.

Binance has acquired Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC), marking a return to the Japanese market after abandoning plans to set base in the East Asian country in 2018 over regulatory issues. Sakura is a cryptocurrency trading platform regulated by the FSA – offering 11 major crypto pairs, including BTC and ETH – against the yen.

The general manager of Binance Japan, Takeshi Chino, has lauded the acquisition as an important step in adopting the digital asset class.

“The Japanese market will play a key role in the future of cryptocurrency adoption,” Chino said. “We will actively work with regulators to develop our combined exchange in a compliant way for local users. We are eager to help Japan take a leading role in crypto,” he added.

Binance has been at loggerheads with the Japanese regulator, Financial Services Agency after the authority accused the platform of running unauthorized transactions. The CEO of SEBC, Hitomi Yamamoto, is optimistic that will change with the new acquisition deal.  

“Binance’s strong compliance will contribute to building a more compliant atmosphere for users in Japan and help them access key crypto services needed for mass adoption in the future,” Yamamoto opined.

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Binance eyes expansion amid market volatility

In November, Binance’s move to liquidate its FTT position in the crypto exchange FTX led to the collapse of the Bahamian-based exchange, spreading contagion across the industry. The rescue deal for the acquisition of the embattled exchange fell through. In the same month, the crash claimed another victim, BlockFi, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday.

Following the collapse of the Tokyo-based Mt Gox exchange 8 years ago, Japan tightened its crypto laws. The fall of the exchange – then handling more than two-thirds of BTC transactions globally – forced Japan to enforce a requirement that the FSA register all the crypto exchanges in the country.

Commenting on the matter, the FSA told the Financial Times that Binance did not require the regulator’s consent in the acquisition deal. However, in a separate report, a spokesperson from the agency remarked that it would monitor compliance around the acquisition deal.

The world’s largest exchange has won similar licenses in countries like France, Italy, Dubai, and Kazakhstan. Binance is keen on protecting the industry amid the prolonged crypto winter. It recently unveiled a recovery fund to the tune of $2 billion.

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