SBI Virtual Currencies, a cryptocurrency exchange that is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has launched its 'VCTRADE' service, and initially it has decided to only support Ripple (XRP).
SBI Holdings first announced that it was going to establish SBI Virtual Currencies on 27 October 2016; the idea was to provide the first cryptocurrency exchange that had the full support of a major financial institution. However, it was not until 29 September 2017 that SBI Virtual Currencies' registration with Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) was completed.
After the hacking attack on Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck in late January 2018, amid security concerns and subsequent changes in the business environment, the full launch of its cryptocurrency spot trading service "VCTRADE" -- which had been serving a small number of customers since 30 January 2018 -- got postponed.
Then, on 26 April 2018, president of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao, announced that the service would be launched by Summer 2018. He promised that once SBI Virtual Currencies was fully open for trading, it would become "number one in the blink of an eye" and promised that VCTRADE would have the "industry's lowest spread."
The VCTRADE service finally went live a few hours ago, and currently it is only available to around 20,000 customers who applied for advanced registration in October 2017. Usernames and passwords are now being sent to those customers by mail. General registration for new accounts has been scheduled to start sometime in July 2018.
Initially, only one trading pair -- XRP/JPY -- is being supported, but the plan is to gradually extend support to other cryptocurrencies, beginning with Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
SBI Virtual Currencies claims that in addition to offering the narrowest bid-ask spread, it provides the "world’s highest level of low-latency trading environment by adopting NASDAQ’s transaction system (matching system)", which it says has already been used by SBI Holdings' subsidiary, SBI Japannext, the operator of Japan's oldest and largest Proprietary Trading System (PTS).
You can find the website for SBI Virtual Currencies at www.sbivc.co.jp. Although the website is in Japanese, if you use a browser such as Google's Chrome, which offers automatic translations, you will find that the company is claiming that the VCTRADE service has the following major benefits: speed, reliability, and transparency.
You might be wondering why SBI Virtual Currencies is only supporting Ripple (XRP). Well, there is a good chance that it is because Yoshitaka Kitao, the president of its parent company, SBI Holdings, is a huge fan of Ripple. Here is what he said in an interview with Ripple on 4 August 2017:
"Not only does it have a clear use case, XRP is faster, cheaper and more scalable than any other digital asset. I strongly believe it will become the global standard in digital currencies. We have already moved aggressively to take advantage of Ripple’s technology, investing in the company in January of 2016, and later launching SBI Ripple Asia (a joint venture) in May of 2016. Very quickly, we launched a consortium of 61 banks, including the top in Japan to use Ripple for both domestic and cross-border payments. And, we are increasingly interested in looking to use XRP for payments."
What is even more interesting is that Kitao has indicated on Twitter that he believes that the price of XRP will be in the $8 to $10 range by the end of 2018 by tweeting the link to an article by RippleCoinNews that made this price prediction:
Ripple Price Predictions XRP/USD 2018 https://t.co/vjI21mBQfX— 北尾吉孝 (@yoshitaka_kitao) February 13, 2018