Coinbase ties up with MUFG as it launches crypto exchange in Japan

Karthik Subramanian

Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the US, has announced its entry into Japan with the launch of a new crypto exchange there in partnership with MUFG.

The exchange said that MUFG would be providing payment services for the exchange and with this partnership, it would also become easy for the customers of MUFG to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using their accounts. The exchange had received regulatory approval from the Japanese regulator earlier in the year which had clearly indicated its intention to launch the exchange in Japan. The approval for Coinbase was given along with approvals for 31 other entities to trade crypto assets and the exchange is now ready to take on the local exchanges like GMO Coin Inc and Coincheck Inc. which should see some stiff and interesting competition.

“We aim to reach out to a wide range of customers by offering low-hurdle services,” Nao Kitazawa, head of Coinbase Japan, said.

The company is now starting operations with trading in five cryptocurrencies which are bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin, stellar, and bitcoin cash, and it is expected that this instrument range would be increased manifold in the coming months. Though Japan is a small country with a comparatively low population, the trading volumes in crypto in Japan have been very high for many months now and this is mainly due to the support from the regulators in the country.

MUFG is an investor in Coinbase Global and so it makes sense for both the companies to partner together for the launch in Japan. Initially, the account holders at other banks would not be able to trade at the exchange but it is expected that this would change in the future as this would be necessitated by the market conditions. With increasing competition in a small country like Japan, Coinbase would likely need to adapt its offerings according to what the market demands.

Though the initial focus is likely to be on the retail market, it is only a matter of time before the institutional investors also begin to pile in. Unlike Binance, which has been stuck with regulatory issues over the last few months, Coinbase has ensured that it expands into only those regions where it has regulatory approvals and this has helped to build trust with the brand which is what institutions seek.

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