Japan’s FSA marks steep drop in enquiries about virtual currencies in Q2 2018

Maria Nikolova

There were 1,602 enquiries registered in the quarter to end-June, compared to 3,559 in the preceding quarter.

Cryptocurrency hype is gradually subsiding in many regions, as already indicated by a number of brokers like IG Group and Plus500. We may be witnessing the same trend in Japan, as the volume of virtual currency enquiries handled by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) in the second quarter of the year markedly declined from the preceding quarter.

According to the latest numbers, published earlier today by the FSA Counselling Office for Financial Services Users, humble 1,602 enquiries about virtual currencies were received in the quarter to June 30, 2018. This compares to 3,559 such enquiries received in the first three months of 2018.

There were 607 general questions and enquiries (38% of the total), as well as 449 (28%) of questions about individual transactions and contracts.

The FSA did not explain the change in public mood about cryptocurrency. Let’s note, however, that the Japanese authorities have been rather active in their sanctioning of virtual currency exchange providers that fail to meet regulatory requirements. There have been a number of business improvement orders issued by the Japanese authorities over the past several months. Moreover, in early June, the FSA announced it denied the registration of virtual currency exchange business FSHO Co., Ltd. The company falls into the category “a corporation that has not established a system to properly and reliably carry out virtual currency exchange activities”.

In the April-June quarter, the FSA received 2,231 enquiries about investment products, slightly up from the preceding quarter. Across products there were 377 cases (17%) concerning listed shares, 340 cases (15%) concerning FX, and 170 cases (8%) concerning investment trusts.

There were also 138 fraudulent investment solicitation issues, 86 of which included reports of damage.

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