Business 18 January 2019

Ed Drake

Huobi launches regulated crypto exchange in Japan

Singapore cryptocurrency exchange group Huobi has announced the launch of Huobi Japan, a regulated and fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange, following a recent merger with BitTrade. With the launch, Huobi joins the first wave of companies to have been granted a license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), under what the firm described as a “groundbreaking regulatory regime.”

Huobi Group Founder and CEO Leon Li welcomed the launch as an important development for the company.

In a statement, Li said: “This is an important milestone for us. Firstly, because the Japanese market is a very important one to us and, secondly, because working with regulators is a longstanding priority for Huobi Group. We’re proud to say that Huobi Japan now has one of the first 17 licenses issued under the FSA’s ground-breaking regulatory regime.” 

Huobi Japan CEO Haiteng Chen echoed these views, saying the firm was looking forward to serving the Japanese market. He said, “We’re looking to continue to grow our presence here while offering top-notch digital asset trading services in Japan.”

To celebrate the launch, Huobi is offering a period of ‘zero transaction fees’ for both fiat and crypto transactions for a limited time.

The news is the latest example of a cryptocurrency exchange taking advantage of Japan’s new licensing regime, widely seen as a model for regulation in other countries. Providing supportive structures for regulating and licensing exchanges, the Japanese position is favored by exchanges looking for certain legal conditions in which to operate.

Having recently acquired BitTrade, which was one of the first 17 firms in Japan to be granted a new license, Huobi choose to shutter the service before relaunching as Huobi Japan. The decision means existing BitTrade customers will now be required to create new accounts and to go through KYC processes again, before they can trade.

With group turnover in excess of $1 trillion, Huobi is a significant player in the global cryptocurrency sector. Their launch in Japan will provide investors with access to their platform on a regulated basis, and comes at a time of further global expansion for the firm.

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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