One of the world’s biggest exchange, which handled more than $50 million in trading volumes during the past 24 hours, bitFlyer, is to enter the US market this Autumn.
“There is a concept of ‘Mrs. Watanabe’ in the Japanese forex market; she is the personification of household trading in Japan. BitFlyer aims to be the first exchange to allow US Bitcoin traders to trade with Mrs. Watanabe,” Bartek Ringwelski, bitFlyer’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a press release.
The exchange has ambition to expand globally after raising $36 million in VC funding with USA being the first market after Japan where they have risen to become the biggest bitcoin exchange.
They say bitFlyer is fully licensed in Japan and is “a deemed virtual currency exchange under the rule of Financial Service Agency.” The exchange has now also secured licenses to operate in 34 US states.
They will start by offering a BTC/USD trading pair, with plans to expand to other cryptos, initially targeting american professional traders and institutional investors.
It is the first regulated bitcoin exchange in quite some time to enter the US market, potentially increasing competition and offering users more choices.
However, it is unlikely they will be able to offer any margins or futures trading at launch, a particular area that is currently under-served in a regulated context.
Europe’s Bitstamp is planning to expand their margin offerings, which are currently in beta testing, but the timing is not clear. While Coinbase has restricted margins to very wealthy traders with $5 millions or more.
The main reason is probably because CFTC is moving very slowly, even though their chairman seems to be very friendly to this space and blockchain tech more generally.
However, it is likely regulated margins will start being offered potentially this year or in early 2018 as this space now becomes a $150 billion market, attracting institutional investors.
Some of them may be from Japan with Ivan Brightly, a portfolio manager with the NY based Full Node Capital which has recently moved into crypto-asset investing, stating:
“Tokyo has been the epicenter for Forex trading for decades. As the market leader in Japan, I expect bitFlyer to bring significant liquidity and market expertise to US markets.”
Japan stands out among all nations for being the first country to classify digital currencies, such as bitcoin or ethereum, as legal tender.
That has led to many shops there accepting bitcoin for payments and a general boom with Japan joining South Korea in providing considerable liquidity and crypto trading volumes.
The decision was seemingly taken after a perceived crackdown by the Chinese authorities at the beginning of the year which temporarily froze bitcoin withdrawals from Chinese exchanges to tighten capital controls.
That gave Japan and South Korea an opening to make a fairly big entrance into this space as their citizens start adopting a very 21st century technology.