In recent months, the San Francisco-based Coinbase has been aggressively expanding its business units and product offerings in hopes of luring institutional investors. Now, the leading US cryptocurrency exchange has announced it will be expanding overseas into the Japanese market.
Coinbase plans to apply for a license with Japan’s Financial Services Agency within the year. Filing with the FSA is required by all crypto exchanges seeking to operate in the region, after the Japanese government made an amendment to the Payment Services Act in April 2017.
Cointelegraph Japan says that Coinbase is working with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), a Japan-based financial services company that has made over ¥1 billion in investments in Coinbase since 2004 through its subsidiaries. Coinbase first announced that it would expand to Japan in 2016 after a $10.5 million investment from MUFG.
The report also says that Coinbase will support major cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum.
Coinbase has appointed Nao Kitazawa as their CEO to oversee Coinbase Japan. Kitazawa previously worked as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley Japan, and as the COO of investment firm Money Design. In a blog post, Coinbase says that Kitazawa is charged with “building a world-class in-country team and ensuring that we deliver on our vision of creating an open financial system for the world.”
Fierce competition is brewing in Japan. In addition to Coinbase, a number of exchanges are setting up shop in the region. Earlier this week, SBI Holdings announced that they are launching the first bank-backed crypto exchange in Japan. Yahoo Japan is also planning on launching an exchange in Japan.