A bitcoin exchange startup based in Singapore has raised $16m as part of an ongoing Series A round led by a Japanese investment fund.
Quoine announced earlier this week that it had raised the funds from investment fund JAFCO, which has confirmed its participation in the round, as well as a group of undisclosed angel investors. The startup is now in the process of moving its headquarters to Japan.
Quoine’s Series A round isn’t complete, however, as it said it is looking to close another $4m, for a total of $20m, in the coming months.
The exchange said it plans to use the funds to build out its team and bolster its compliance efforts amid a push in Japan to regulate domestic digital currency exchanges. Regulators in the country first unveiled their plans last December, a move that came in the wake of the collapse of Tokyo-based exchange Mt Gox and the subsequent arrest of its CEO, Mark Karpeles.
In interview, CEO Mike Kayamori said his startup hoped to become “an exchange of exchanges”, positioning Quoine’s exchange as more business-facing than consumer-oriented.
But it’s this question of regulation, Kayamori suggested, that pushed the startup closer toward the Japanese market.
He said Quoine has been in contact with Japan’s Financial Services Agency, its chief finance regulator, for much of the past year, and remarked that “it is a wonderful thing that [the government is] going to regulate it”.
“It brings clarity,” he said, going on to highlight how regulatory uncertainty freezes out startups like his from gaining access to business bank accounts, even when regulators in jurisdictions like Singapore move to create sandbox environments for FinTech development.
“Normally, a sandbox environment and being non-regulated is good,” Kayamori told CoinDesk, adding:
“But, for cryptocurrencies, you need that clarity, and Japan is the first nation to bring that clarity to the masses.”
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