Japan’s FSA registers further drop in enquiries about virtual currencies

Maria Nikolova

In the quarter to end-December 2018, the Japanese regulator received 788 enquiries about Bitcoin and its likes, down from 1,231 in the preceding quarter.

The wave of enthusiasm and curiosity around cryptocurrencies appears to be losing its force in Japan. This is indicated by the latest data provided by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).

The FSA Counseling Office for Financial Services Users handled 788 enquiries concerning virtual currencies in the quarter to the end of December 2018. This is markedly down from the 1,231 enquiries about cryptos handled in the preceding quarter. Given that he Counseling Office registered 3,559 enquiries about virtual currencies in the first three months of 2018, it is safe to conclude that investors are asking about cryptos more rarely and this trend has become more visible over the past several quarters.

Let’s note that the biggest part of the enquiries were general questions about this type of investments.

Last year saw tightening of the regulatory environment for virtual currency exchanges in Japan. There were a number of business improvement orders issued. GMO Coin, the virtual currency business of GMO Internet Inc. (TYO:9449), was among the companies targeted by such orders. GMO Coin was instructed to establish an effective system risk management system.

In the three months to December 31, 2018, the number of enquiries related to investment products increased to 2,264. This compares to 2,016 such cases handled in the previous quarter. Out of the total, 873 cases (38%) were related to general inquiries and questions.

Across assets, 465 cases (or 20% of the total) related to listed stocks, followed by 203 cases (9%) related to FX, and 178 cases (7%) related to investment trusts.

There were 227 cases concerning fraudulent investment solicitation, including 164 cases with claims about investors having suffered some kind of damage.

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