Bitcoin News: Bitcoin Exchange Kraken Launches in Japan

Bitcoin exchange Kraken will launch in Japan today, aiming itself at the nation’s large number of active traders and finance professionals. In its announcement, the company highlighted the strength of Kraken’s security and engineering team, as well as its high trade volumes and reputation for compliance.

Gaining public trust is a high priority for any bitcoin business planning to establish a Japanese base, given the local media’s tendency to highlight the digital currency’s association with Mt Gox and Silk Road. The new managing director of Kraken in Japan, Ayako Miyaguchi, said that the company’s ability to handle larger volumes will be the main drawcard for Japanese users, especially professional traders who may not have experimented with bitcoin yet.

“That’s what we can do better than the smaller exchanges,” she said. Kraken’s proven history operating from the US also gave it confidence when establishing essential relationships with banks and local regulators such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

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Now is a good time to open a new exchange in Japan, Miyaguchi added, since businesses are in need of an exchange they can trust and regulators simply want to avoid another Mt Gox-like situation. She said: “We have a proven history in the US and Europe, so we’re not just saying we’re good, we actually have been successful … We can be a model, we can lead the industry.”

The Kraken team, especially Miyaguchi, have been instrumental in forming Japan’s new bitcoin industry group, the Japan Authority of Digital Asset (JADA), and have met with government representatives on several occasions.

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Kraken’s launch in Japan has been a while coming, with a few false alarms along the way. While the company has always intended to set up shop in the world’s third-largest economy, the length of time it took to realise that ambition highlights the fact that setting up a bitcoin exchange in a new market is no simple process.

The initial plan was to launch in Japan at the beginning of the year, but the Gox debacle forced a postponement. Japan’s society simply wasn’t ready at that point, and there was a need to build trust, the exchange indicated.

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