SBI Launches Japan’s First Bank-Backed Crypto Exchange

Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings announced on Monday that its in-house cryptocurrency exchange is now live, after a months-long delay due to security concerns.

Called VCTRADE, the service is currently only open for users who have pre-registered with the platform in October 2017, the company said in the announcement and expects it to be available for a wider public in July of this year.

In addition, SBI said as a first step, VCTRADE will focus on the trading of XRP, the native token derived from the Ripple protocol, after which the exchange will sequentially add supports for bitcoin and bitcoin cash, though an initial timeline for that remains unclear at this stage.

The decision is perhaps not entirely surprising given SBI Holdings’ existing works in piloting the remittance technology provided by the San Francisco-based Ripple that uses a distributed ledger to make cross-border transactions.

SBI Holdings first established its wholly-owned subsidiary – SBI Virtual Currencies – in October 2016 in a bid to launch the country’s first crypto exchange that is fully backed by a major financial institution.

The platform later completed business registration with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) in September 2017 but announced in February of this year that the opening would be delayed due to security concerns amid the Coincheck hack.

The new service also comes after SBI Virtual Currencies has canceled a partnership in March with crypto exchange Huobi that would use the latter’s financial and technological resources to launch VCTRADE.

Japanese yen image via Shutterstock

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