Japan Levies Administrative Punishment on Crypto Exchanges

Japan’s Financial Services Agency is sending what Reuters terms “administrative punishment notices” on several of the nation’s cryptocurrency exchanges and some may be forced to suspend operations, the newswire reported, citing Nikkei’s business daily.

Among the regulatory actions, one exchange, Coincheck, which had been tied to a $530 million cyberheist early in the year, will be told to raise its standards, the second such regulatory demand lobbed at Coincheck and one that this time will focus on consumer protection – and compensation for investors who were hit by the breach.

As reported, Coincheck has said it will repay $425 million of the cryptocurrency that had been lost in the attack, and said that it had funds on hand to facilitate that repayment, although a timeframe had not been disclosed.

The investigation of cryptocurrency exchanges at large comes as the Financial Services Agency said in the wake of the Coincheck theft that it would investigate those firms for weaknesses in security measures and require the firms to disclose how they run risk management operations and how they store the cryptocurrencies.

On-site regulatory checks on exchanges showed flaws in anti-money laundering and customer protection procedures.  The administrative punishments on the companies – unnamed by Nikkei – come as some unregistered exchanges will be ordered to suspend operations.

As has been widely reported, Japan is the first country to regulate cryptocurrency firms nationally. Some 16 firms are registered with regulators, while another 16 have been operating while being applications are under review.

Coincheck faces class action suits related to the hack, and investors want to see a return of digital assets, as reported late last month.



Featured PYMNTS Study: 

With eyes on lowering costs to improving cash flow, 85 percent of U.S. firms plan to make real-time payments integral to their operations within three years. However, some firms still feel technical barriers stand in the way. In the January 2020 Making Real-Time Payments A Reality Study, PYMNTS surveyed more than 500 financial executives to examine what it will take to channel RTP interest into real-world adoption. Here’s what we learned.