Bitcoin fork leads to slowdown in Japan’s FSA cryptocurrency business approval process

Maria Nikolova

Sensitive matters, such as the popularity of ICOs, as well as the recent Bitcoin split, appear to have influenced the decision-making process of Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).

The split of Bitcoin into Bitcoin and Bitcoin cash earlier this month did not lead to any catastrophic consequences for the cryptocurrency world, as most businesses have gradually adapted to the new situation. However, the fork seems to have influenced the decision-making process of Japanese regulators.

According to a report by the Japan Times, the popularity of Bitcoin continues to grow but companies seeking to obtain licenses from the Financial Services Agency (FSA) are faced with long waiting periods. Mike Kayamori, head of Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Quoine, said his company had filed its application for registration but the assessment process seemed to be taking longer than expected.

Mr Kayamori blamed the delay on recent developments, including bitcoin’s split in early August.

Given the split, the FSA is probably cautious about approving exchange operators, Mr Kayamori was quoted as having said. Another factor weighing on the FSA decision-making is the recent boom in initial coin offerings (ICOs), which most likely represents another sensitive issue to the FSA, he said.

Overall, the latest legislative changes affecting the cryptocurrency segment in Japan are seen as a positive factor for the adoption of Bitcoin and its likes and the launch of businesses in this sector. And yet, there are some hurdles for the wide Bitcoin adoption. According to the report, these include the increased transaction fees and slower processing of cryptocurrency transactions due to higher trading volumes.

Australia is now on its way to adopt a law that will require the registration of digital currency exchange operators with AUSTRAC. The bill, moved by Australia’s justice minister Michael Keenan, proposes changes to the current AML/CTF law by modernizing it to take into account digital currencies like Bitcoin. Businesses that trade digital currencies for money, and vice versa, will also be required to implement AML/CTF programs, and to report threshold transactions and suspicious matters to AUSTRAC. The maximum penalty for failing to comply with registration requirements is 7 years of imprisonment and/or a fine of 2,000 penalty units.

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