Yahoo Japan is Launching a Cryptocurrency Exchange: Local Report

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Yahoo Japan is preparing to launch a cryptocurrency market, regional media sources say.

Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday that the tech firm — originally a joint venture between Altaba (formerly Yahoo!) and Softbank — will begin an acquisition of BitARG Exchange Tokyo in April and will spend another year with BitARG's technology to build a full-fledged exchange that will launch in 2019.

Yahoo Japan's initial investment will see YJFX — one of its subsidiaries — cover 2 billion yen (~$19 million) for a 40 percent stake in BitARG, which already has a permit from the country's Financial Services Agency (FSA) to operate a cryptocurrency trading platform.

Yahoo Japan will then make further investments in BitARG through other subsidiaries within the course of the next calendar year since it also scales up the platform's operations in anticipation of its rebirth as a new exchange, which is tentatively scheduled for April 2019.

Japan has emerged as a significant center for cryptocurrency trading in Asia since China forced the closure of exchanges on the mainland.

Formerly, Japan had passed favorable cryptocurrency regulations, and these two factors have led several mainstream businesses to begin developing cryptocurrency exchanges.

Line, a Japan-based chat app with over 600 million registered users, also announced in Januarythat it planned to create a cryptocurrency market that would operate not just in Japan but also Hong Kong and Luxembourg.

Ultimately, Japanese banking group SBI plans to construct its own exchange, even though it recently delayed the launch so it may strengthen its safety measures — a move that came in response to increased scrutiny from the FSA.

Since CCN reported, the FSA has ramped up enforcement of the cryptocurrency trading industry in the months following a record-setting theft at Tokyo exchange Coincheck.

Most recently, the FSA issued a formal warning to Hong Kong-based exchange Binance for unlawfully operating in Japan without a license.