Why Japan’s Decision to Allow Crypto Sector to Self-Regulate is Significant
Japan, the largest cryptocurrency exchange market by daily trading volume, has allowed the local crypto market to self-regulate, demonstrating trust towards the country’s cryptocurrency-related businesses.
The decision of the Financial Services Agency (FSA), the main financial watchdog of the country, comes in a period in which two of the biggest digital asset exchanges in its local cryptocurrency market were hacked by an unknown group of hackers.
On Oct. 24, the FSA officially approved the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), a consortium established by 16 licensed crypto trading platforms in the country, to establish guidelines and various regulatory frameworks to eliminate money laundering, insider trading, and implement strict Know Your Customer (KYC) systems.
Why Did Japan Allow Self-Regulation
Subsequent to the $40 million security breach of Zaif, a major digital asset exchange in Japan, local analysts expected the government of Japan to impose strict regulation to combat hacking attacks, potentially by requiring exchanges to obtain insurance, implement more thorough security measures, and enhance internal management systems.
Contrary to the expectations of local companies, the government of Japan allowed the cryptocurrency exchange market to self-regulate for the first time in the nation’s history, showing a high level of trust and respect towards the local market.
The reasoning behind the government’s unforeseen decision can be mainly attributed to two factors:
- the intent of JVCEA to eliminate anonymous cryptocurrencies and;
- providing local exchanges with more responsibility over their actions, operations, and investors.
In June, Mainichi Shimbun, the oldest newspaper in Japan, reported that more than 30 million yen or $273 million have been laundered by the Yakuza, the largest crime syndicate in the world based in Japan with nearly 100,000 members.
At the time, the FSA stated that cryptocurrency exchanges will not be able to obtain licenses to operate as regulated financial institutions unless anonymous cryptocurrencies are delisted and encouraged G20 to discuss the presence of Monero, Zcash, and Dash on leading exchange.
The FSA official said:
“It should be seriously discussed as to whether any registered cryptocurrency exchange should be allowed to use such currencies. It’s nearly impossible for Japan to handle the problem alone. Even if trade is restricted to only domestic transfers or monitoring is enhanced, it’s still not enough to counter money laundering. It would be best if all the group of 20 industrial and emerging nations and regions (G20) would take the same steps toward prevention.”
It is highly likely, given the FSA’s strict policy on money laundering and anonymous cryptocurrencies, that the association’s plans to impose a blanket ban on insider trading and private digital assets ultimately led the FSA to come to a consensus to legitimate the self-regulating body.
Significance of JVCEA
Japan is the first and the only government in the global market to create a national licensing program to regulate and oversee cryptocurrency exchanges. Apart from that, the approval of the JVCEA will allow local investors to build trust towards cryptocurrency exchange and the local digital asset market.
The JVCEA will encourage local cryptocurrency exchanges to prove to the FSA and Japanese financial authorities that the digital exchange market is mature, liquid, regulated, and transparent enough to facilitate investment in cryptocurrencies from both local retail and institutional investors.
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