Japan’s biggest bitcion exchange is heading to the US market with an ambition to expand globally after it managed to raise $36 million in VC funding.
bitFlyer is fully licensed in Japan and is “a deemed virtual currency exchange under the rule of Financial Service Agency.” The exchange has now also secured licenses to operate in 34 US states. According to available statistics, the exchange handled more than $50 million in trading volumes during the past 24 hours.
Once operational in the US, bitFlyer will be offering BTC/USD trading pair and has plans to expand to other cryptocurrencies. According to the exchange, they will initially be targeting american professional traders and institutional investors.
It is the first regulated bitcoin exchange in quite some time to enter the US market, potentially increasing competition and offering users more choices. However, it is unlikely they will be able to offer any margins or futures trading at launch, a particular area that is currently under-served in a regulated context.
Bitstamp has already revealed its intentions of starting margin offerings and it is already beta testing this feature. Coinbase has restricted margins to very wealthy traders with $5 millions or more. The main reason is probably because CFTC is moving very slowly, even though their chairman seems to be very friendly to this space and blockchain tech more generally.
Japan stands out among all nations for being the first country to classify digital currencies, such as bitcoin or ethereum, as legal tender. That has led to many shops there accepting bitcoin for payments and a general boom with Japan joining South Korea in providing considerable liquidity and crypto trading volumes. The decision was seemingly taken after a perceived crackdown by the Chinese authorities at the beginning of the year which temporarily froze bitcoin withdrawals from Chinese exchanges to tighten capital controls. That gave Japan and South Korea an opening to make a fairly big entrance into this space as their citizens start adopting a very 21st century technology.