Business 3 April 2018

Gerald Fenech

Monex Group eyes majority stake in Tokyo-based Coincheck

Some good news is on the horizon for Coincheck investors who were resigned to the fact that they had lost all their money after the Tokyo-based exchange had been hacked in January. According to Nikkei Asian Review, online broker Monex Group has offered to take over the beleaguered Japanese.

Sources familiar with the matter told the news outlet that Monex has offered an amount believing to run into “billions of yen for a majority stake” in the exchange. Monex is also reportedly looking to put a new management team in place to ensure that no more hacks or similar problems occur in the future. This is crucial if Coincheck is to regain some semblance of credibility after the hack which severely damaged its reputation, let alone that of its investors who ended up severely short changed in the process.

Coincheck was in dire straits last January when it announced that a staggering $530 million were stolen from its coffers in what could be termed as the biggest hack of cryptocurrency in the history of the industry. Coincheck was looking for the support of a strategic partner to help it get out of the mess. The deal is expected to be announced by early next week, according to the news outlet.

The possible takeover by Monex had a positive effect on the crypto world as prices jumped across all currencies, with legacy Bitcoin (BTC) reaching well over $7,300 following the announcement. Shares of Monex also jumped at the news rising by a staggering 23% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Apparently the news that a major player in the cryptocurrency space is back in business was received positively by shareholders and investors alike.

The rescue operation was welcome news after an investigation by the Japanese Financial Services Agency had ordered Coincheck to conduct a major overhaul of its operations, which included asset protection for its clients as well as the implementation of anti-money laundering measures. The beleaguered exchange, however, could not go ahead with such improvements without the support of an external source which it has now found in.

Coincheck founder Koichiro Wada as well as chief operating officer Yusuke Otsuka are expected to step down once Monex takes control, though they will apparently remain as shareholders, according to the report. Monex will appoint a new president and other executives after the transition takes place.

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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