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Japan

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June 2023

MUFG enables bank-backed stablecoin issuance amid new Japanese regulations

MUFG, Japan’s leading bank, is pioneering the crypto industry by supporting stablecoin issuance on the Progmat Coin platform, offering an alternative route for entry and exit in the volatile cryptocurrency market.

Japan’s ANA airline launches NFT marketplace, sees future in metaverse projects

Japan’s All Nippon Airways, or ANA Group, has launched a non-fungible token platform known as “ANA GranWhale NFT MarketPlace” to trade art and photograph collectibles through its metaverse subsidiary ANA NEO, the company tweeted on Thursday.

May 2023

Hong Kong Solidifies Crypto Regulations even as Malaysia bears down on Huobi

The launch of Hong Kong’s very own CBDC comes with new regulations for crypto trading platforms operating in the city.

Japan to implement anti-money laundering rules for crypto: report 

Japan will introduce strict anti-money laundering rules on cryptocurrency transactions from June 1, the Southeast Asian nation’s cabinet decided on Tuesday.

Hong Kong? Singapore? Tokyo? Seoul? Dubai? The race is on for the Web3 hub of Asia | Part 2

While U.S. regulators continue debating over whether cryptocurrencies are securities or commodities, the digital assets industry is being pleasantly welcomed by several Asian cities. And the competition is really hotting up now.

Looking to expand Web3 activities into Japan? Watch the biggest firms for clues, says gaming protocol founder.

While the community might be small, there’s a growing buzz around Web3 in Japan, with overseas companies now taking note. For clues on how to make it big in the land of the rising sun, follow the lead of the nation’s largest firms, says Sebastien Guillemot, co-founder of Paima Studios.

Japan government’s crypto czar touts nation’s Web3 capabilities

Japan was an early believer in blockchain and cryptocurrencies until exchange hacks brought a crackdown. But that was then. Now the government has become a crypto cheerleader.

Japan looks to regain its place in the cryptocurrency world pecking order

The three-day NexTech Week trade show kicked off Wednesday in Tokyo, celebrating all things technology, including blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.

Central Banks’ actions move Crypto; Standard Chartered eyes $100K Bitcoin

Welcome to Forkast IQ, presented by Forkast Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau, where we look beyond the headlines to get you insights that power smarter decisions. Coming up on today’s show: JPMorgan Chase set to rescue First Republic Bank. CITI cuts Coinbase stock Weekly crypto market wrap; “US$100K for Bitcoin” – Standard Chartered report; Weekly NFT market […]

April 2023

What the US stands to lose if it keeps heaping scorn on crypto

The current US approach to regulating crypto flies against its history of supporting tech innovation and undermines its own national interest, writes Hamilton Keats of Krayon Digital.

East meets West at DAO Tokyo conference as Japan plays catch up

The global culture of decentralized autonomous organizations arrived in Japan last week for DAO Tokyo, the first event of its kind in Asia according to the organizers, drawing over 350 founders and contributors from all corners of the world for discussions on all things DAO.

Japan’s CoinTrade partners with Fireblocks to improve digital asset security

CoinTrade said it has partnered with crypto custody platform Fireblocks to provide institutional clients with improved security for digital assets.

March 2023

G7 nations set to push for stricter cryptocurrency regulations at Japan summit in May

The Group of Seven industrial countries will discuss tougher rules on cryptocurrencies to improve transparency, protect investors.

Japan’s Web3 Era

Japan’s been a little behind in the Web3 space, but their new Metaverse Economic Zone could be a game changer.

Japanese banks to launch, test stablecoins on ‘Japan Open Chain’

Three major banks in Japan will issue stablecoins on an Ethereum-compatible blockchain created by the blockchain-related tools developer G.U. Technologies.

February 2023

BitFlyer founder eyes CEO comeback, share sale amid boardroom conflicts: Bloomberg

Yuzo Kano, co-founder of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer Inc., said he plans to return as CEO, sell shares to public.

Japanese tech, finance firms sign pact to build metaverse economic zone

About 10 Japanese companies, including Fujitsu, Mitsubishi and Sumitomo Mitsui, have agreed to advance Japan’s metaverse plans with the establishment of the “Japan Metaverse Economic Zone”.

FTX Japan resumes withdrawals through Liquid Japan web platform

FTX Japan, the Japanese subsidiary of Sam Bankman-Fried’s bankrupt FTX, resumed withdrawal of customer holdings on Tuesday.

Japan to launch digital yen pilot programme in April

Japan will start a pilot programme to test the use of a digital yen in April, joining a growing number of countries seeking to launch their own CBDCs.

Japan’s Square Enix to launch Web3 game on Polygon blockchain, cites ‘sustainability’ benefits

Square Enix announced Wednesday that it will launch its first Web3 game Symbiogenesis on the Polygon blockchain.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says NFTs and DAOs can bolster ‘Cool Japan’ strategy

NFTs and DAOs can help support Japan’s national strategy dubbed ‘Cool Japan’ to attract investment and expand the economy.

January 2023

Japan’s financial regulator aims to lift ban on foreign stablecoins by June this year

Japan plans to introduce regulations by June this year that will allow domestic investors to trade certain stablecoins from overseas.

Coinbase asks Japan customers to withdraw holdings as it halts operations

Coinbase Global Inc., the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, has asked customers in Japan to withdraw crypto and fiat holdings by Feb. 16, as it halts operations “to conduct a complete review” of its business in the country.

Monex Group expresses interest in bidding in upcoming sale of FTX Japan: Bloomberg

Tokyo-based online brokerage Monex Group Inc. indicated it may join the bidding for the Japan subsidiary of the failed FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

Coinbase to cut jobs, shut down most of its cryptocurrency operations in Japan

Coinbase, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, is cutting jobs and closing down most of its operations in Japan.

Final Fantasy’s Square Enix stays committed to blockchain despite backlash

Yosuke Matsuda, the president of Square Enix, has reaffirmed the gaming company’s commitment to blockchain technology.

December 2022

Japan game maker Gumi strikes US$52 mln metaverse deal with Square Enix, SBI

Japan-based game company Gumi has announced a business alliance with Square Enix SBI Holdings to grow its metaverse business.

Kraken to shut Japan operations

Kraken announced on Wednesday that it will “cease its operations” in Japan and deregister from the Financial Services Agency.

Japan plans to lift ban on stablecoins issued overseas: report

Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) reportedly plans to allow the circulation of foreign-issued stablecoins in the local market next year.

Japan plans to ease corporate tax rates for cryptocurrency issuers

Japan’s ruling party approved a proposal that exempts companies issuing crypto from taxes on unrealized gains on retained tokens.

Japan ruling party lawmaker calls for regulatory clarity after FTX debacle

A Japanese lawmaker called for more transparent regulations following the FTX meltdown, where investors were not warned of the risks with FTX Token.

It’s time for more institutions to adopt blockchain and crypto: Opinion

Despite the myriad benefits of blockchain and cryptocurrency, institutional interest remains mixed in Asia Pacific. What lessons should the industry learn from 2022 to overcome the barriers to adoption?
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November 2022

Binance re-enters Japan with acquisition of regulated Sakura Exchange BitCoin

Binance returned to the Japanese market with the acquisition of regulated crypto exchange Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC), according to a blog post on Wednesday.  See related article: Binance to help S. Korea’s Busan build first city-backed exchange Fast facts See related article: Crypto exchange Binance in regulators’ crosshairs as scrutiny mounts 

Japan’s central bank to test digital yen with three megabanks: report

The Bank of Japan, the country’s central bank, will conduct experiments with three megabanks and regional banks on a digital yen, according to a report by Nikkei on Wednesday. 

FTX Japan readies for resumption of withdrawals by end-2022: report

FTX Japan, a subsidiary of the now-bankrupt FTX.com, is preparing to resume withdrawals by the end of 2022 to Japanese customers, said an unnamed FTX Japan executive to local broadcaster NHK

South Korea, Singapore, Japan biggest users of FTX pre-collapse, says CoinGecko

South Korea, Singapore and Japan were the biggest users of FTX.com based on the number of monthly unique visitors from January to October 2022

Japan’s NTT Docomo to develop Web 3.0 with Accenture, Astar Network

NTT Docomo, Japan’s largest mobile phone operator, has partnered information technology firm Accenture and blockchain infrastructure Astar Network to explore Web 3.0 adoption.

Japan’s Web 3.0 lawmaker urges further easing of country’s crypto regulation

Japan needs to further relax rules for its crypto industry, said lawmaker of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party Masaaki Taira.

October 2022

Japan eases token vetting process to expand crypto offerings: report

Japan’s Virtual and Crypto assets Exchange Association (JVCEA), the self-regulatory body that oversees local crypto exchanges, will allow platforms to list cryptocurrencies without an existing lengthy screening process, according to Bloomberg. See related article: Japan pushes for tougher crypto AML regulations amid N. Korean cyberattacks Fast facts The easing is expected to take place as […]

Japan pushes for tougher crypto AML regulations amid N. Korean cyberattacks

The Japanese government approved amendments to existing financial regulations to prevent money laundering utilizing cryptocurrencies and increase penalties on those involved, according to local media reports. See related article: North Korea’s Lazarus Group attacks Japanese crypto firms, police say Fast facts The Cabinet, Japan’s executive body, approved the revisions to laws associated with the country’s […]

Japanese gaming giant Konami is recruiting for expansion into Web3, metaverse

Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd., a Tokyo-based video game company, announced a recruitment effort for 13 new positions to integrate its game titles with Web3 and metaverse technologies. See related article: NFTs may be the next killer app for video games, but some traditional players object Fast facts The game developer is planning to launch […]

North Korea’s Lazarus Group attacks Japanese crypto firms, police say

North Korea-backed hacker group Lazarus has been sending phishing emails to Japanese crypto exchange employees to infect their computers with malware, causing some companies to have their systems hacked and cryptocurrencies stolen, Japan’s National Police Agency announced last week. See related article: DPRK hackers sneak US$52 mln in crypto into S.Korean exchanges: Chainalysis Fast facts […]

Japan’s PM announces NFT and metaverse expansion

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced plans to expand investments in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse in a policy speech on Monday. See related article: Japan plans new crypto transfer rules to combat money laundering Fast facts Kishida says the country will further its investment in digital transformation and expand the use of Web3 […]

September 2022

Japan plans new crypto transfer rules to combat money laundering

Japan is planning to introduce remittance rules to prevent money laundering through cryptocurrencies, Nikkei Asia reported Tuesday. See related article: China says it busted US$5.6B crypto money laundering ring Fast facts The Japanese authorities plan to revise “The Act on Prevention of Transfer of Criminal Proceeds” to require exchanges to provide user data when sending […]

Japanese banking giant Nomura’s crypto unit to be based in Switzerland

Tokyo-based financial services group Nomura Holdings, Inc., recently announced its new digital asset subsidiary named Laser Digital and respective holding company Laser Digital Holding, which will be active in Switzerland. See related article: Japan’s government approves policy to drive Web 3.0 adoption Fast facts Laser Digital will focus on secondary trading, venture capital and investor […]

Girl group AKB48’s producer to launch metaverse idol; IEO in the works

J-pop is increasing ties with immersive metaverse technology, with Japan’s top record producer Akimoto recently announcing his ambitious virtual idol project.

August 2022

Animoca Brand’s Japan subsidiary raises US$45 Mln to invest in NFT

Animoca Brands KK, the Japanese unit of Hong Kong blockchain investment firm Animoca Brands, Friday said it raised US$45 million from the world’s second-largest financial group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), and parent Animoca Brands. See related article: Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ to issue yen-pegged stablecoin: report Fast facts MUFG and Animoca Brands each invested US$22.5 […]

July 2022

Japanese bank SMBC plans to develop NFT business

Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC Group), which runs one of Japan’s largest banks, said Friday it will work together with blockchain startup HashPort to develop non-fungible token (NFT) and Web3 projects. See related article: PSG sells US$220,000 NFT tickets for first Japan tour in 27 years Fast facts SMBC and HashPort plan to set up […]

PSG sells US$220,000 NFT tickets for first Japan tour in 27 years

Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (PSG), the winning football club of the French Ligue 1, is selling non-fungible token (NFT) tickets worth 30 million yen (US$220,000) each for its friendly matches this month with local teams in Japan as well as VIP access to players. See related article: NFTs Explained in Less than 4 Minutes Fast facts […]

Singapore’s low taxes draw Japan’s Web 3.0 companies

A large number of Japanese Web 3.0 companies are moving to or at least setting up new offices in Singapore, executives from Japanese blockchain gaming infrastructure builder Oasys told Forkast on Friday. See related article: Japan’s government approves policy to drive Web 3.0 adoption Fast facts Japanese firms operating in the Web3 sector need to […]
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June 2022

Mind the gap: Bridging the divide between DeFi and CeFi to grow yield

As traditional finance sector firms continue to seek upside crypto exposure, bringing DeFi yields to TradFi has a bright future, says B2C2’s Phillip Gillespie.

Litecoin gets the boot; India’s tax typo

Litecoin revealed to have broke privacy laws in South Korea. Meanwhile, the Indian government corrects a typo which mistakenly altered a crypto tax.

Japan’s government approves policy to drive Web 3.0 adoption

The Japanese government on Tuesday gave the green light to a new policy that plans to develop and expand the Web3 environment in the country, including the use of cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). See related article: Japanese crypto firms team up to form a metaverse association Fast facts The approved […]

Hold onto your crypto bags, the regulators are coming

Falling prices, an imploding stablecoin, and more reports of hacks have occupied the cryptocurrency headlines in recent weeks, so it’s perhaps no surprise that regulators have noticed and they intend to do something about it.

May 2022

Square Enix sells Tomb Raider; US, China’s crypto fate

Algorand becomes FIFA’s new blockchain partner for the 2022 competition. Meanwhile, Square Enix sells Tomb Raider IP for blockchain ventures.

April 2022

Zombie Zoo Keeper, Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen maker team up for PikoZoo NFT

Pikotaro, the Japanese singer-songwriter and creator of the 2016 global sensation Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen (PPAP), is teaming up with famed nine-year-old non-fungible token (NFT) artist Zombie Zoo Keeper to create a unique NFT project. See related article: Japan’s messenger app LINE launches NFT marketplace Fast facts The new music video, named “Zombie Zoo to PIKOTARO DESU,” will […]

BSN developer’s NFT warning; LINE launches NFTs

State-backed developer delivers warning on the state of NFTs in China. Meanwhile, LINE launches a NFT marketplace.

Japan’s messenger app LINE launches NFT marketplace

LINE, Japan’s dominant mobile chatting app, on Wednesday officially launched its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace LINE NFT through its Osaka-based blockchain subsidiary LVC. See related article: Asia Primed For NFT Growth Fast facts Users can purchase and trade NFTs on the platform and store them on the LINE BITMAX Wallet, which can be accessed via […]

US sanctions Russian darknet market; Indian MP’s crypto warning

South Korea’s Kakao Group acquires SEBC. Meanwhile in India, an MP reveals the government’s plans for the crypto industry,

South Korea’s Kakao to buy into Japanese crypto exchange

Kakao Piccoma, the group’s Japanese digital-comics subsidiary, acquired a major stake in Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC) as part of its global expansion. See related article: Kakao Games rebrands subsidiary to focus on crypto, blockchain, Web 3.0 Fast facts Kakao Piccoma bought out SEBC Holdings’ stake for an undisclosed amount and said it will incorporate crypto […]

March 2022

Jack Dorsey’s Block funds Japanese fintech company Kyash in $41M round

Tokyo-based mobile financial platform Kyash has raised US$41.2 million (about 4.9 billion yen) in its Series D funding joined by Jack Dorsey’s Block. See related article: After Facebook’s name change to Meta, Square has now become Block Fast facts Kyash has accumulated a total funding of about US$107.7 million since its launch in 2015, which […]

Japan urges crypto exchanges to comply with Russian sanctions

Japan’s Financial Services Agency and Ministry of Finance jointly announced penalties on crypto exchanges that do not comply with sanctions on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, following G7 vows to tighten crypto sanctions. See related article:  Russians turn to crypto as Western sanctions hit the ruble Fast facts See related article: Russia faces crypto […]

Nomura Holdings plans new digital assets company

Nomura Holdings will restructure its Future Innovation Company into a newly established company to leverage the rise of digital assets, effective April 1.  Fast facts See related article: IBM, Nomura to use blockchain for plastics recycling in new consortium The Japanese financial services giant revealed in a statement its plans to expand its private markets […]

February 2022

Russian attack hits crypto: MUFG to close blockchain venture

The crypto market tanks after Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a military operation in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Japan’s biggest financial group closes it’s blockchain payment venture.

Mitsubishi UFJ ditches blockchain payment venture

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) will close its blockchain payment venture due to slow profits, Japan’s largest bank announced on Tuesday.  See related article: Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ to issue yen-pegged stablecoin: report Fast facts MUFG said it is preparing to halt and liquidate Global Open Network Japan, Inc. (GO-NET Japan). GO-NET Japan, set up in […]

Animoca Brands’ new Japan arm aims to connect fans in Web 3.0 world

Hong Kong-based blockchain unicorn Animoca Brands’ Japanese strategic subsidiary started operations on Tuesday to bridge the nation’s exclusive intellectual property (IP) with the Web 3.0 ecosystem. See related article: Animoca Brands valued at US$5B after latest fundraise Fast facts The subsidiary, Animoca Brands KK, is building a blockchain-powered platform for Japanese IP holders to launch […]

Bandai Namco plans IP metaverse; Russia’s crypto flip

Japanese gaming giant Bandai Namco plans on a metaverse with their IP meanwhile, Russia does a crypto flip.

Pac-Man owner Bandai Namco to invest $130M in metaverse

Bandai Namco is investing 15 billion Japanese yen (US$130 million) into building an “IP Metaverse” with its array of games and content, the Japanese entertainment conglomerate announced on Tuesday. Fast facts “Through the IP Metaverse, we will establish communities among Bandai Namco and fans, as well as among fans themselves,” the company wrote in its […]

Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ to issue yen-pegged stablecoin: report

Japan’s largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust (MUFJ), plans to issue a yen-pegged stablecoin in 2023 for instant settlement of securities transactions, according to Nikkei Asia. Fast facts By accelerating the settlement process, Mitsubishi UFJ hopes to cut costs arising from settling securities transactions by fiat, which usually takes a few days to process. Japan’s Financial […]

January 2022

Japan must cooperate with Europe, US on CBDC, BOJ says

The Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) chief called on the U.S. and Europe to cooperate on creating a global technical standard for a central bank digital currency (CBDC), Reuters reported on Friday.  Fast facts The central bank has not made a decision on the issuance of a CBDC, but has conducted experiments while deliberating on the […]

NFTs may be the next killer app for video games, but some traditional players object

Developers adopt NFT technology to promote staple video game franchises, but reaction from a number of gamers has been negative.

Japan’s Square Enix reveals blockchain gaming ambitions for 2022

Yosuke Matsuda, president of Square Enix — the game developer behind Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and Kingdom Hearts — recently reiterated the company’s blockchain ambitions while acknowledging ongoing concerns about the new trend. Fast facts In a new year’s letter posted on the company website, Matsuda emphasized that incorporating blockchain technology into gaming holds “the […]