Cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi Japan and Fisco are said to have been investigated by the country’s financial watchdog last week.
A Reuters report on Tuesday, citing “two sources familiar with the matter” said that the Financial Services Agency (FSA) visited the two exchanges to assess their customer protection and anti-money laundering (AML) provisions.
Japanese exchanges run by the two firms have recently seen big changes at the management level, and the FSA investigation was aimed to ensure whether adequate compliance measures are in place under the new regimes, according to the sources.
Through the acquisition of licensed cryptocurrency exchange BitTrade, Huobi Group expanded its trading services to Japan last September.
Fisco, on the other hand, has just become the owner of the Zaif exchange, previously managed by Tech Bureau. After a major hack last September, the previous owner, Tech Bureau, moved to sell the business to Fisco for $44.7 million.
In the breach, Zaif lost approximately $62.5 million in bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH) and monacoin (MONA).
Since then, registration of new members had been suspended, while trading, depositing and withdrawing MONA had been on hold. The official transfer of the exchange to Fisco took place on Monday and full services resumed today.
Japan is one of the few countries to recognize bitcoin as a legal method of payment. The country passed a law in April 2017 that also brought cryptocurrency exchanges under anti-money laundering (AML)/know-your-customer (KYC) rules and mandated platforms to be licensed.
Japanese flag image via Shutterstock
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish, a cryptocurrency exchange, which in turn is owned by Block.one, a firm with interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets including bitcoin and EOS. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.