San Francisco-based Coinbase is still preparing behind the scenes for a presence in the Japanese market.
The popular cryptocurrency exchange, which previously applied for an operating license in the country, has now become a second-class member of the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) – the self-regulatory organization given the mandate to oversee the industry by the Financial Services Agency (FSA) in 2018.
Announcing the news on Monday, the JVCEA said local firms Digital Asset Markets Inc. and Tokyo Hash have also joined the group alongside Coinbase as second-class members.
Coinbase has had a Japanese exchange in its sights since as far back as 2016, after it received a $10.5 million investment from a group that included Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.
In mid-2018, the firm named a chief executive for its local subsidiary, and later in the year indicated it was confident it would receive an operating license from the FSA before the end of 2019. That hasn’t happened as of early 2020.
In becoming a member of the SRO, Coinbase joins other second-class member firms “applying for or planning to apply for virtual currency exchange registration as prescribed in Article 63-3 of the Payment Services Act,” according to the JVCEA.
The body aims to ensure its exchange members carry out “sound” business as set out in local law. As an official SRO, it has the power to put in place rules for the nation’s exchanges and take action over any violations.
The JVCEA was founded to restore confidence in the industry after a series of major hacks on exchanges including the industry’s biggest ever breach at Coincheck, which lost $420 million in January 2019.