A man walks past a Yahoo logo during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea
A man walks past a Yahoo logo during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea

If you want to learn to make bread, you go to a bakery. If you want to see a crypto fraud, you go look inside an exchange. There are, according to CNBC, almost 200 exchanges in operation with new ones opening all the time.

And there are the good, the bad and the really ugly.

The world’s biggest exchange is Binance. It faced a sophisticated but ultimately unsuccessful hacking attempting earlier this month and now seems to be moving its operations from Asia to the Mediterranean online gambling enclave of Malta, after facing regulatory heat in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Previously the world’s biggest exchange was Mt. Gox. It declared bankruptcy in 2014 after it lost approximately $450 million in a hack and it’s CEO Mark Karpelès was charged by Tokyo police with fraud and embezzlement.

This sector is so troubled that the US Securities and Exchange Commission felt the need to issue a warning on crypto-currency exchanges earlier in March, saying it has concerns “that many online trading platforms appear to investors as SEC-registered and regulated marketplaces when they are not.”

“Many platforms refer to themselves as ‘exchanges,’ which can give the misimpression to investors that they are regulated or meet the regulatory standards of a national securities exchange.”

The exchange business is, for these reasons and more, a fat, murky trillion-dollar world. Which makes the news that Yahoo appears to be entering it intriguing.

Nikkei Asia Review reports that Yahoo Japan is acquiring 40% of the Japanese BitARG Exchange to then launch a full-blown exchange after April 2019. Yahoo is getting internal teams to set up a “ corporate governance structure, a customer management system and internal controls” and other parts of the Yahoo group will be made through another “Yahoo group company” in early 2019.

As the Nikkei Asia Review says, this could “touch off a realignment in the crypto-currency exchange business.”

Yahoo was once the undisputed heavyweight champion of the internet. No longer. But could crypto-currency save this fallen tech giant? And could Yahoo save crypto?