Green emergency exit signage

Amber plots exit from Japan amid plans to focus on institutional clients

Digital currency lender Amber has announced that it is considering an exit from Japan as part of its efforts to restructure its business.

Amber Managing Partner Annabelle Huang disclosed that uncertain market conditions forced the company to halt the retail side of its operations. Going forward, Huang disclosed that Amber will double down on its offering for institutional clients.

Amber made its debut in Japan in 2022 after it acquired digital currency exchange DeCurrent Inc, but after less than 12 months, Amber’s plan appears to be falling apart. Huang blamed government policies for its exit plans, but other exchanges have pulled out of the Japanese market in the wake of falling asset prices and waning public interest.

U.S.-based Kraken and Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) announced their sudden exits from Japan, with Huang describing the country as “ a very high-quality market, but regulations are strict.” Japanese regulators have hinted at plans to loosen its tight grip over its local digital currency ecosystem, beginning with foreign stablecoins.

Huang revealed that the company’s finances are in order as changes to the Ethereum network have brought new institutional clients to the firm. Customers affected by the implosion of FTX were made whole following a $300 million raise led by Fenbushi Capital U.S.

As it leaves Japan, Amber’s Managing Director hinted that it could establish itself in Hong Kong or Singapore, drawn by their pro-digital currency stances. She revealed that the company is currently preparing for a license application in Hong Kong while it continues its probe for alternatives.

“Hong Kong is sort of leading the way at the moment, but I think Singapore is not exactly closing the door as well,” said Huang.

Amid the sudden exit from Japan and planned restructuring, Amber’s board of directors has seen a reshuffling while terminating its sponsorship with English soccer team Chelsea FC.

Hong Kong’s mouthwatering offer

Amber’s next frontier appears to be Hong Kong, with Huang saying that the city’s regulatory scene “has been very bullish for us.” Hong Kong has publicly declared its resolve to be the leading jurisdiction for digital currency firms by offering lower taxes, clearer regulations, and streamlined residency permits for expatriates.

There appears to be and endless supply of banking services for Web3 firms in Hong Kong as Chinese financial institutions have been swarming the city-state to offer their services to the companies. Over 80 fintech firms have confirmed plans to open offices in Hong Kong, while several more are deliberating the decision.

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