As bitcoin trading becomes the new mainstream in Japan, leading financial firms are stepping in to offer services to preserve their market share. MUFG, the largest bank in the country, is now planning to launch its own exchange, a pegged cryptocurrency and bitcoin segregated accounts for clients of other exchanges.
Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun, one of the major newspapers in the country, and South Korea’s national public news publication KBS, reported that MUFG is preparing resources and a team of developers to establish a cryptocurrency exchange for the local cryptocurrency market.
In September 2017, the Japanese government and the Financial Services Agency (FSA) introduced a national licensing program to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges as proper financial institutions. 11 bitcoin exchanges received operating licenses and regulated financial service provider status. At the time, 17 cryptocurrency exchanges were being reviewed and throughout the past three months, more cryptocurrency exchanges have been approved to operate.
In the upcoming weeks, MUFG plans to gather necessary resources and talents to open a cryptocurrency exchange and file for an application to the Japanese FSA. However, Mainichi Shimbun reported that filing for the application to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in Japan is difficult, and the bank will need to undergo a rigorous process to launch a trading platform for digital assets.
Two months ago Shinhan Bank, the second largest commercial bank in South Korea, has started the development and testing of a bitcoin wallet and vault system, to provide secure services to existing cryptocurrency users.
A rapidly increasing number of financial institutions are entering the cryptocurrency market and the entrance of strictly regulated financial service providers will provide cryptocurrency traders a wider range of platforms to use to secure their portfolio of assets and cryptocurrencies.
Releasing a token
According to Mainichi Shimbun, MUFG is also considering the launch of a crypto-token that hedges the token’s value to the price of Japanese yen. Essentially, MUFG would operate a reserve of Japanese yen, and produce an equivalent amount of MUFG token to match the price of the Japanese yen.
Local media outlets reported that MUFG’s token would serve as a crypto-asset to protect traders against market volatility. In periods of extreme volatility and large market corrections, traders can seamlessly move their assets into the MUFG Japanese yen-backed token and prevent temporary volatility from affecting their existing assets.
Conceptually, the MUFG’s crypto-token is similar to USDT, or Tether, which hedges the token’s value to the price of US dollars.
Given that USDT has been controversial due to the lack of proper third-party audits, in order for MUFG to operate a legitimate Japanese yen-backed cryptocurrency, it would have to conduct a third-party audit to ensure that each MUFG token is backed by the Japanese yen.
The timeframe of the launch of MUFG’s cryptocurrency exchange remains unclear, and the Japanese bank has not disclosed any additional information apart from that provided by Japanese media outlets.
It is optimistic for the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange market that major banks, specifically the biggest bank in the country, is planning to enter the cryptocurrency market and address growing demand for cryptocurrencies.