Business 28 June 2018

Erik Gibbs

Crypto exchange Huobi Pro to suspend service in Japan

Starting July 2, Huobi Pro will no longer be available to Japanese cryptocurrency traders. The exchange has decided to suspend operations after failing to be properly registered by the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). The Seychelles-licensed company informed its customers via an email sent on Wednesday, and further added that it would remove its Japan-centric webpages the same day it halts trading in Japan. While it has informed clients through email, Huobi has yet to make a public announcement about the suspension.

Huobi Pro had expected to enter a partnership with the Japanese financial institution SBI for a regulated exchange following an agreement in January. However, SBI cancelled the plans in March as it decided to focus on a new exchange dubbed the SBI Virtual Currencies exchange, which launched several weeks ago.

Per new regulations introduced through the FSA in April, all cryptocurrency exchange operators with services in the country are required to register with the agency. Since Huobi was not able to create the partnership with SBI and has not registered with the FSA, it has now decided to close up shop, at least temporarily, in the country. It has not confirmed whether or not it plans on seeking registration with the FSA.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong-based HitBTC suspended its operations in Japan after announcing that it was not in compliance with the new regulations. However, the exchange also acknowledged that it’s working with the FSA and had outlined a plan that would allow it to restart services conforming to the new guidelines.

Huobi Pro’s parent company, Huobi, maintains offices in Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, the U.S. and, until July 2, Japan. It was founded by Leon Li in China in 2013 and was previously one of the largest exchanges in the country. It launched a USD exchange in 2014 and, in March of this year, established offices in the U.S. after becoming registered with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Huobi Pro is the company’s international trading platform and, according to CoinMarketCap, it is currently listed as the third highest-rank exchange by trading volume. It has traded just under $1 billion in the past 24 hours.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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