The Financial Services Agency (FSA), Japan’s financial watchdog, issued an official warning to the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume – Binance, for operating in the country without a license.
In a statement released on the regulator’s website, the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange has been asked to discontinue its service to Japanese residents. The news negatively reflected on the Bitcoin price, as it experienced a drop of around 4% in its value.
Binance Accused Nikkei Of “Irresponsible Journalism”
Nikkei, a Japanese newspaper, first reported about FSA’s warning to Binance. In its report, it stated that the financial regulator is planning to file criminal charges against Binance unless it plans to stop its operation in the country. However, CEO of Binance Zhao Changpeng reaffirmed its customers via a tweet that the company is in “active dialog” with the Japanese regulator. At the same time, Changpeng blasted Nikkei for its “irresponsible journalism”
“Nikkei showed irresponsible journalism. We are in constructive dialogs with Japan FSA, and have not received any mandates. It does not make sense for JFSA to tell a newspaper before telling us, while we have an active dialog going on with them.”
Later, Changpeng confirmed on Twitter, that the company received the warning letter the day after Nikkei’s report. He tweeted
We received a simple letter from JFSA about an hour ago. Our lawyers called JFSA immediately, and will find a solution. Protecting user interests is our top priority.
— CZ (not giving crypto away) (@cz_binance) March 23, 2018
However, for now, the matter seems to have reached no conclusion and it is unknown whether Binance has halted its operations or still continuing work.
Binance to Open “Fiat-To-Crypto Exchange” in Malta
Over the past months, Binance has been scouting for a crypto friendly location to station its headquarters. Binance recently announced it will set up a branch office in the Southern-European island country – Malta. The crypto exchange giant plans to launch its first “fiat-to-crypto exchange” exchange.
The Maltese Prime Minister welcomed Binance via a tweet:
Welcome to #Malta 🇲🇹 @binance. We aim to be the global trailblazers in the regulation of blockchain-based businesses and the jurisdiction of quality and choice for world class fintech companies -JM @SilvioSchembri https://t.co/3qtAQjOpuQ
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) March 23, 2018
For now, it is unclear if Binance will continue to process to acquire the license to operate in Japan, and will the FSA accept it. Until then the chances that the country will be host to Binance’s headquarters are slim to none.