Japanese companies are pushing ahead with exchanges. Photo: iStock
Japanese companies are pushing ahead with exchanges. Photo: iStock

Despite an ongoing downtrend in crypto-currency markets, Japan’s booming digital coin industry continues to expand, with both new players and services.

Over the past week the global crypto-market capitalization has dropped 16%, shaving more than $65 billion, as Bitcoin led the bears to push prices lower. There has been no single piece of bad news that has influenced this sell-off and it’s a pattern we have seen previously with this very fickle and volatile market.

But the Japanese do not seem worried. In fact, they are queuing up to get into crypto.

Japanese regulators are gearing up for six new government-approved crypto exchanges to enter an increasingly crowded market. According to local media, the six companies are already listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and include a popular budget-managing app operator, an entertainment conglomerate, a large music label and a medical corporation.

Other well established public companies planning to launch crypto exchanges in 2018 also include SBI Group, Line Corp, and Yahoo! Japan.

The six newcomers to the rapidly expanding crypto scene in Japan are Money Forward, Drecom, Yamane Medical Corporation, Adways, Avex, and Daiwa Securities Group. Money Forward is known for developing an extremely popular household bookkeeping app that enables users to keep track of financial accounts for banking, credit card, e-wallet and point services.

The company added that it also plans to partner with 20 Japanese and international crypto exchanges to offer accounting services.

Drecom develops and markets entertainment content for mobile and desktop computers. In addition to planning, operation and management of exchanges relating to digital currencies, the company plans to offer crypto-currency settlement services.

Yamane Medical Corporation operates in the personal care and nursing sector and plans to launch crypto-currency consultation and exchange services.

Tokyo-based global mobile app marketing firm Adways provides an ad agency, ad tracking tools and an ad network. It too is looking towards crypto with plans to offer a virtual currency exchange business based on funds settlement law.

Avex, one of Japan’s largest music labels and entertainment conglomerates, also has plans to have its own virtual currency exchange.

Daiwa Securities Group president and CEO Seiji Nakada told Sankei newspaper last week that there is “enough possibility of becoming a highly useful platform if conditions such as legal maintenance are in place,” before adding that although price movements of crypto-currencies are unstable and subject to speculation, there will be times when major companies have to enter to improve the environment.

One of the 16 fully licensed crypto exchanges in Japan, Bitbank, has launched a program to borrow digital currency from its members. The new service allows customers to rent out their digital coins up to a maximum of 1 Bitcoin.

The exchange will hold the loaned funds for 12 months and offer up to 5% per year. It plans to expand to provide a similar service for Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and Japan’s own crypto asset Monacoin. The service competes with a similar offering from another fully licensed exchange, GMO Coin, which launched its loan options in April.

There are a further eight exchanges now being reviewed by Japan’s FSA and more than 100 companies in the queue for license applications.

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