Japanese crypto exchange BitTrade has been acquired for S$67 mln ($50 mln) by a Singaporean multi-millionaire and entrepreneur, Asia One reported yesterday, May 30.

The acquisition will see Mr. Eric Cheng take a 100 percent stake in BitTrade Co., Ltd, one of only 16 domestic crypto exchanges to receive a license from Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Cheng is also acquiring BitTrade’s affiliate company, FX Trade Financial Co., Ltd,  one of Japan’s leading forex trading platforms.

As Asia One notes, the investment makes Cheng the first foreign investor to hold a 100 percent stake in an FSA-licensed trading platform. Cheng said:

“The cryptocurrency industry is growing exponentially. Against this backdrop, the key to capturing the rising demand is having a well-regulated and licensed outfit. With this Japanese FSA-licensed platform, I will work closely with the regulators to scale this platform globally.”  

The management teams of both platforms will reportedly work to “aggressively scale” and expand trading services on the exchanges, strengthen cybersecurity measures, and develop more international-user-friendly interfaces.

As CryptoNewspeople Japan reported earlier this week, Bitrade has said that “there is no policy to change the basic business framework under the new ownership,” and that currently provided services will continue.

Two high-profile Japanese crypto exchange scandals – January’s unprecedented $532 mln Coincheck hack and the notorious collapse of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox – have triggered an increasingly stringent regulatory climate for crypto in Japan. The FSA license held by BitTrade already stipulated strict guidelines, with the financial watchdog introducing further requirements for crypto exchanges earlier this month.

A self-regulatory body for Japanese exchanges was convened in April to provide assistance to domestic operators, some of whom have buckled under escalating pressure from the FSA. Nonetheless, the country continues to show high crypto adoption levels. Just over a week ago, a leading Japanese fintech company announced it would be launching a crypto asset exchange within the year.

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