Two Japanese Crypto Exchanges Withdraw Applications To Operate

John Medley
  • Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange have voluntarily withdrawn their applications to operate as crypto-asset exchange in Japan
  • Japan's Financial Services Agency have been enforcing higher security standards for all crypto-asset exchanges in the wake of the Coincheck hack

Since the infamous Coincheck hack in January that saw over $500 million in NEM stolen, Japan’s FSA (Financial Services Agency) has started improving the security of crypto exchanges. Nikkei reported on Thursday that two crypto exchanges in Japan have withdrawn their applications to operate.

Contrary to misleading articles, Tokyo GateWay and Mr. Exchange have voluntarily withdrawn their applications to operate as crypto-asset exchanges in Japan.

It is thought that Tokyo Gateway and Mr. Exchange had insufficient security procedures and standards making it highly unlikely that they would have met the FSA's stricter requirements. Making an application to operate a fruitless endeavour.

The FSA ordered all crypto exchanges to improve security in the wake of the Coincheck hack. Two exchanges -  Bit Station and FSHO - were suspended for 30 days and 5 exchanges - Tech Bureau, GMO Coin, Mister Exchange, Bicrements and Coincheck - had to conduct a full security audit and provide a “Security Improvement Plan” by March 22nd.

Japan’s Crypto Markets Mature Under FSA Guidance

Despite the numerous reports of Japanese exchanges being forcefully closed down the reality is different. The FSA has imposed security standards to help prevent Coincheck or MtGox style hacks. A process that has fortunately identified several security flaws in numerous exchanges. These exchanges have been left with a choice of improving security or shutting down. It is the FSA’s hope to mature the crypto market and improve standards.

As the volumes of crypto-asset trading falls and competition ramps up, the crypto exchange business model is becoming less lucrative. Analysts expect the number of exchanges to drop and the market to consolidate around a small group of exchanges. However, it is thought to be a positive progression for the market improving liquidity and security.

OneCoin Denies Being a ‘Hybrid Ponzi-Pyramid Scheme’

The controversial OneCoin organization has recently responded to the Central Bank of Samoa, claiming it isn’t a “hybrid ponzi-pyramid scheme” as it doesn’t fir the definition of these schemes, and that it is a centralized, closed cryptocurrency.

According to the Samoa Observer, the Central Bank of Samoa claimed OneCoin is a “hybrid ponzi-pyramid scheme” that “laundered money through New Zealand to Samoa.” It also claimed the organization was targeting local residents through churches.

The organization, widely believed to be running a pyramid scheme using the cryptocurrency space, sent a statement to the Observer defending itself, claiming it’s neither a pyramid nor a Ponzi scheme. It’s worth noting individuals associated with OneCoin have been arrested and charged in various countries, including China and India.

In its response, OneCoin argued that Ponzi schemes see the revenue of old investors be “generated through the investment of new investors,” and that it doesn’t require its agents, known as Independent Marketing Associates (IMAs), to recruit others in order to earn bonuses.

Its defense revolves around IMAs not being “obliged to incur any additional expenses or recruit a new IMA,” and that they are rewarded for the “value of [their] sales,” not for recruiting new agents.

The organization added pyramid scheme regulations are these for “consumer protection,” and that its IMAs aren’t consumers. This, as when they join the organization they sign a contract classifying them as “self-employed business owners.”

The users which are part of the OneLife Network are NOT consumers. They are IMAs, meaning they are self-employed business owners.

As CoinDesk notes, OneCoin argues it isn’t a pyramid scheme because its agents aren’t seen as consumers and, as such, it can’t be classified under a dictionary definition of a pyramid scheme, and doesn’t force its IMAs to recruit new agents, although they’re incentivized to do so.

OneCoin, instead, argue it is a “centralized, closed cryptocurrency” with strict anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) rules, which make it “much more compliant than decentralized [cryptocurrencies].”

As reported, OneCoin’s leaders Ruja Ignatova and Konstantin Ignatov were recently indicted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. Konstantin was arrested in March of this year.

Moreover, earlier this month former OneCoin investor Christine Grablis filed a lawsuit against the organization’s promoters, with Grablis’ attorney claiming OneCoin’s founders created a multi-billion dollar ‘cryptocurrency’ company based completely on lies and deceit.”