Binance buys Japanese crypto exchange Sakura BitCoin

abdelaziz Fathi

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by traded volume, has made a fresh bid to enter Japan with the acquisition of Japanese-registered crypto exchange service provider Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC). The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

SEBC is among a total of thirty one crypto exchanges registered in the country with the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

Binance pulled out of Japan in 2018 after the country’s financial regulator warned that the crypto giant is operating in Japan without permission. At the time, CEO Changpeng Zhao spoke out against rumors that Binance was subject to criminal charges by the FSA. He also claimed that the exchange was in “constructive dialogues” with the regulator over the matter.

Takeshi Chino, general manager of Binance Japan, said: “The Japanese market will play a key role in the future of cryptocurrency adoption. As one of the world’s leading economies with a highly-developed tech ecosystem, it’s already poised for strong blockchain uptake. We will actively work with regulators to develop our combined exchange in a compliant way for local users. We are eager to help Japan take a leading role in crypto.”

Hitomi Yamamoto, CEO of SEBC, added: “We are honored and delighted to make this announcement with Binance, one of the world’s leading crypto asset exchange service providers. On top of our effort to prioritize user protection, Binance’s strong compliance system will contribute to building a more compliant atmosphere for users in Japan and help them access key crypto services needed for mass adoption in the future.”

Binance was reportedly seeking a license to operate in Japan after its exit from the country four years ago. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the nation’s “easing approach” to crypto and “substantial potential for user growth” are the key reasons for Binance’s renewed interest in the world’s third-largest economy.

Binance spokesperson cited Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s Web3-friendly approach. The PM said in May that Web3-related initiatives such as metaverse and non-fungible token (NFT)-related developments will be part of the nation’s growth strategy going forward.

Since 2017, Japan has been one of the first nations in the world to make it mandatory for crypto companies to properly register with the regulator in order to continue operating. However, Japanese authorities are proposing new restrictions that would bring crypto exchanges under the purview of its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act.

The move comes as Japan wants crypto businesses not to process transactions involving crypto assets subject to asset-freeze sanctions against Russia over the war in Ukraine.

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