Japan Penalizes Crypto Exchanges – Yakuza Involvement Confirmed

Japan Penalizes Crypto Exchanges - Yakuza Involvement Confirmed

The Japanese regulator has issued business improvement orders to six of the country’s 16 fully-licensed crypto exchanges including Bitflyer, Quoine, and Tech Bureau. The agency confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com that at least one of the six exchanges has some form of involvement with the Yakuza. Responding to the improvement order, Bitflyer has halted new account registrations.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Punishing 6 Regulated Exchanges

Japan Penalizes Crypto Exchanges - Yakuza Involvement ConfirmedJapan’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), issued six new business improvement orders on Friday, June 22. The orders to Bitflyer, Tech Bureau, Bitpoint Japan, Btcbox, Bitbank, and Quoine follow the agency’s first rejection of a crypto exchange registration on June 7.

Bitflyer, Japan’s largest crypto exchange by volume, received an “administrative penalty” order. The agency said that after an inspection, “an effective management system has not been established to ensure proper and reliable operation of the business, as well as countermeasures against money laundering and terrorist financing.” The exchange must submit a written report to the agency by July 23. The regulator elaborated:

Management has not established an internal control system including an internal audit, giving priority to reducing costs.

The other five crypto exchanges received similar orders. Japan currently has 16 fully-licensed exchanges. Previously, the only regulated exchanges to receive business improvement orders from the FSA were Tech Bureau which operates Zaif exchange and GMO Coin. Today’s order is the second Tech Bureau has received.

Bitflyer Halts New Account Registrations

Japan Penalizes Six Cryptocurrency Exchanges - Yakuza Involvement ConfirmedResponding to the FSA’s orders, Bitflyer apologized to its customers and outlined plans to comply with the agency. In order to “promptly build a proper identity management system for existing customers, we have decided to re-check the status of approval,” the exchange wrote, adding:

If defects and deficiencies are confirmed within a customer’s registration information by any chance, it will be necessary to re-implement the person’s confirmation process. Therefore, in some cases, we ask visitors to re-present their identity confirmation documents, so we are sorry for any inconvenience.

“In addition, we have reexamined the status of identity confirmation of existing customers, and the internal control system. Until reinforcement is in place, [we will] voluntarily suspend account creation by new customers,” Bitflyer emphasized.

Organized Crime Involvement

In an interview with a news.Bitcoin.com reporter in Tokyo, the FSA confirmed that at least one of the six crypto exchanges above was found to have some kind of involvement with organized crime groups, particularly the Yakuza. Without naming the guilty crypto exchanges, a spokesman for the agency told a crowd of reporters:

The FSA found that some companies do not have an updated database for screening the individuals who sign up…We strongly recommend those companies to remove all ties with anti-social forces [organized crime groups].

As the crypto industry grows in Japan, the FSA pointed out the necessity for exchanges to work with the local authorities to create an increasingly secure environment with proper monitoring systems, including screening users identification.

What do you think of the FSA’s action and Yakuza’s involvement with crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Nikkei, Firstlogic, and Pixabay.

Editor’s Note: Nathalie Stucky contributed to this article. Some statements have been translated from Japanese.

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Only a Third of the Richest Informed on Bitcoin

Only a Third of the Richest Informed on Bitcoin

Despite seeing their investment return above 20% in 2017 for two consecutive years, the richest people in the world say they are not fully satisfied with their asset managers and want to learn more about crypto.

Also read: At Least $20 Billion in Crypto Investment Awaits Custody Streamlining, Approval

Only a Third of the Richest Were Informed on Crypto

The collective wealth of the world’s millionaires went up to US$70 trillion for the first time, and they will have amassed US$100 trillion by 2025, a survey released earlier this week revealed. The Capgemini World Wealth Report 2018 found that rich people are increasingly interested in cryptocurrencies, but only about half of them are happy with their wealth managers, Reuters reported. Only a third of these millionaires said they got information about cryptocurrencies from their asset managers.

Twenty nine percent of these “high net wealth individuals,” (HNWIs) defined by the Capgemini investigation reportedly expressed a high interest in buying or holding cryptocurrencies, and twenty seven percent said they were just overall interested in the topic. Although the general public is still skeptical about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, an increasing amount of people express a wish to understand it better.

Only a Third of the Richest Informed on Bitcoin

“I am surprised how many of my younger friends are now involved with cryptocurrencies. I wanted to buy some myself, but I don’t understand it well enough to make major investments,” a business woman in Tokyo said. Sally Young (34), who already made millions in real estate investments in the U.S. and in the Philippines, says she is reluctant to invest in crypto at the moment because she doesn’t know enough about them. “When I invest my money, I need to know exactly what I’m investing in,” she said. “With bitcoin, it seems way too difficult to understand how the system really works, and the stories I hear just sound too good to be true,” she explained.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is the coordinating agency for the world’s central banks, is by definition conservative. In its 2018 annual report released on June 17th, the agency said that “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are a poor substitute for dollars, euros and other central bank-backed [currencies], because they don’t scale with growing demand, require excessive amounts of energy and fluctuate greatly in value.”

Report: Richest Young People Want Crypto

In a recent analysis, the BIS also said that digital coins “come up short on all three measures of usefulness as currency,” Reuters reported. “Their prices can fluctuate wildly, making them poor substitutes for fiat currencies for transactions, which require relative stability for price comparison. For similar reasons, they fall short for investing purposes because they cannot be relied upon a store of value.”

Despite regulatory uncertainty and firm caution currently preventing cryptocurrencies from penetrating the wealth management industry, the strong demand for information on crypto from younger HNWIs around the world may force wealth management companies to “at least develop and offer a point of view” in the near future, the World Wealth Report said.

Nearly 50% Japanese Say They Won’t Invest in Crypto

When cryptocurrencies boomed in Japan in 2017, the Japanese crypto investors were mainly people in their 20s and 30s, a survey reported by Nikkei Newspaper this week has showed. By the time the survey was conducted in April of 2018, 17.2% of Japanese people had invested in cryptocurrencies. Although many saw their assets swell by 2 to 5 times their investment at the peak, it was reported that sixty percent people actually suffered  losses. Looking closer into those Japanese people who invested in crypto, it was found that more than half of them were under the age of thirty and 52.3% among those have invested less than JPY5 million (US$45,500). Nearly fifty percent responded to the survey that they will not invest in cryptocurrencies in the future.

Do you think average poorer people and older people will invest in crypto? Let us know in the comments. 

Images via the Pixabay.

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