Huobi Japan has begun listing Bitcoin’s native asset, BSV, on its trading platform. It’s the first time BSV has gained a listing on one of the world’s most lucrative digital asset trading markets.
Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, and the yen (JPY) is the world’s third-most traded fiat currency. The country’s share of the world’s (fiat) FX trading market has been estimated at around 4.5%. FTX interim CEO Sam Bankman-Fried recently suggested Japan’s digital asset trading market could be worth U.S.$1 trillion.
フォビジャパンは、暗号資産 ビットコインSV (#BSV) の入出金、販売所・取引所での取扱いを6/15(水)(予定)より開始します。
— Huobi Japan Exchange (@HuobiJapan_Ex) June 13, 2022
Both Huobi’s announcement and Bankman-Fried’s prediction are a few weeks old now, and Huobi’s BSV launch is landing smack in the middle of one of the digital asset industry’s worst price crashes. Bitcoin fans probably could have wished for this historic event to have happened at a more favorable time for the trading markets—and the global economy in general. However, just yesterday, BSV bucked the overall market trend by rising 10% as most others fell, possibly due to traders anticipating a growth opportunity. (For the record, Bankman-Fried remains bullish about the market and has promised to expand his businesses rather than downsizing as other large names like Coinbase have done.)
The exchange situation in Japan
Japan has been generally permissive of digital assets and the development of blockchain technology over the years. However, this has come with heavy regulation of exchange platforms and the assets they are allowed to list.
These regulations have limited Japan-based digital asset trading to an exclusive range of coins and tokens that often reflected sentiments at the time the rules were made in preferences of industry groups like Ethereum Classic, BCH, and Japan’s own Monacoin. Until this year, it did not include BSV. Now that it does, and a large exchange has begun trading it, any visible demand for BSV could see other Japanese exchanges follow suit.
Gaining regulatory acceptance from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) and an exchange listing was the result of the BSV Blockchain Association’s consultation and lobbying. The Association’s General Counsel and Chief of Staff, Marcin Zarakowski, has said the current introduction of SPV standards to BSV will help overcome any concerns regarding transaction security. Previously, the sheer volume of transactions on the BSV network had made some exchanges hesitant to support the asset.
Japan’s rules and reasons
One reason for the limited list of permitted assets is that Japan was home to Mt. Gox. The exchange spawned one of Bitcoin’s most notorious incidents when it suddenly closed its doors in February 2014. As many as 650,000 bitcoins had disappeared from the company’s accounts, leaving many early holders without access to their digital or fiat assets. In 2022, most are still seeking some redress as part of Mt. Gox’s lengthy bankruptcy process.
At the time, Japan faced a choice: to ban digital assets and their trading altogether or to embrace the technology while maintaining a high degree of consumer protection. Sources close to regulatory information have said there were arguments on both sides, but the government chose the latter. The Japanese public is well-known for its embrace of new technology and an understanding of money and financial management above the global average—and there’s an existing large and eager FX trading market.
The regulations haven’t stopped other Japanese exchanges from suffering hacks or large-scale thefts in the years since Mt. Gox. However, their customers have generally fared better than Gox’s did, perhaps due to exchanges being able to cover losses with other existing assets or to bailouts from new investors.
Whatever the conditions now, Japan has a long-standing reputation as an engaged and wealthy FX trading market, and that reputation has extended into digital asset trading over the past decade. At the very least, it’s a chance for BSV’s market value to prove itself on a major playing field, where it hasn’t had a chance to compete until now. Many will be watching its movements over the coming year with great interest.
Watch: CoinGeek Backstage with BSV Blockchain Association’s General Counsel and Chief of Staff Marcin Zarakowski
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