Coinbase is Expanding Operations to Japan
Coinbase, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, headquartered in California, is expanding its operations to Japanese markets. Japan accounts for a majority of global bitcoin trading volume (~60%) and has over 3.5 million active traders. Coinbase operates in 32 countries, not including its soon to be Japanese operations. They have over 20 million customers, which is more than regulated brokerages such as Charles Schwab, and as many as Fidelity Investments. The company plans to apply for a license to operate an exchange with Japan’s financial regulatory entity, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), within a year.
Coinbase commented on the development in a blog post on Monday:
“As in other markets, we plan to take a deliberate approach to our roll out in Japan, which means working hand-in-hand with the Japanese FSA to ensure compliance with local laws at every stage. As a regulated, compliant crypto company in the U.S., we will focus on building that same level of trust with new customers in Japan.”
According to people familiar with the matter, Coinbase is working with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), a Japanese bank holding and financial services company, to integrate its operations into Japanese markets. MUFG is a long-time Coinbase investor, having invested over 1 billion Yen ($9.1 million USD) in the company since 2004.
Coinbase hopes to support bitcoin and ethereum trading for Japanese customers at first, and possibly expand to other assets in the future. If they cannot secure the license needed to offer crypto trading services, they will create a banking partnership with MUFG.
Coinbase is a rapidly growing crypto exchange, having reported $1 billion in revenue in 2017, and valuing itself at roughly $8 billion recently. Its expansion into Japan could help the company secure and maintain a position as the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.