Japan's financial watchdog has stepped up its efforts to scrutinize foreign cryptocurrency services that target domestic investors without a license.
According to an official warning published by the Japan's Finance Service Agency (FSA) on Feb. 13, the regulator said a Macau-based cryptocurrency service firm named Blockchain Laboratory, headed by Jay Liu, has been offering unregistered services related to cryptocurrency trading and initial coin offerings (ICO).
According to the firm's Japanese-language website, the company's business involves cryptocurrency tutorials and consulting, cryptocurrency sales and ICO agency services and related publicity work.
The Kantou region office of Japan's Finance Ministry has also published a statement cautioning that the firm failed to register under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act while raising funds, making private offerings and facilitating ICOs in Japan.
According to the FSA statement, the agency had already warned the firm several times prior to making the statement public regarding its allegedly illegal conduct. The firm has yet to respond, it said. As as result, the agency is increasing its efforts to warn domestic investors over the "possibility of falsehood" in Blockchain Laboratory's operations.
The news marks the first time that regulators in Japan have issued a warning over a cryptocurrency services company since April last year, when the country legalized bitcoin as a payment method.
Japanese yen and bitcoin image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.