Bitflyer, Japan’s and the world’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, has announced its expansion into the US market this fall. It is launching a US-based bitcoin exchange, allowing customers to trade between bitcoins and dollars. The company says it has already obtained regulatory approval to operate in 34 states.
Bitflyer Expanding into US Market
Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange by volume, Bitflyer, announced on Friday that it is launching a US-based bitcoin exchange by the Fall of this year. “Bitflyer will initially target professional traders and institutions in the US, offering BTC/USD trading at launch and then expand to support other trading pairs and products,” the announcement revealed.
Bitflyer CEO Yuzo Kano commented:
While Bitflyer, Inc. is headquartered in Japan, my vision was always to create a global company, and I am excited that the US will be its first step toward global expansion. Bitcoin is a global currency, now our exchange will be global too.
Founded in 2014, Bitflyer has raised over 4.1 billion yen (approximately $36 million) in venture capital funding. The company operates a merchant payment processing service along with their bitcoin exchange, which Coinhills ranks as the largest in both Japan and the world by bitcoin trading volume. The Japanese yen is also currently the most-traded currency for bitcoin worldwide.
The upcoming US exchange will be operated by the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Bitflyer USA Inc, which is headquartered in San Francisco. Bitflyer says that this US expansion is the first for the company into a new market.
Bitflyer’s announcement came exactly one week after Bitfinex, the leading bitcoin exchange globally for US dollar trading volume, announced its exit from the same market. Bitfinex cited “a dramatically outsized portion of our resources…including support, legal and regulatory” as the reason for dropping US customers. Meanwhile, Biflyer says that it has already gained regulatory approval to operate in 34 states. In comparison, Coinbase is licensed in 38 US states.
Access to Trading with ‘Mrs. Watanabe’
The exchange has facilitated over $40 billion worth of bitcoin trades, including $30 billion in 2017, according to Friday’s announcement. Some of this growth was attributed to the powerful Japanese class of investor known as “Mrs. Watanabe,” which is a major force in the global foreign exchange (forex) markets. Bitflyer’s COO Bartek Ringwelski commented:
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.
Recently, news.Bitcoin.com reported on how Mrs. Watanabe is enticed to invest in bitcoin following its recognition by the Japanese government in April. Japan’s near-zero savings rates are also a factor driving them to bitcoin.
“Tokyo has been the epicenter for forex trading for decades,” Ivan Brightly, a portfolio manager at the New York-based investment manager Full Node Capital LLC, commented. “As the market leader in Japan, I expect Bitflyer to bring significant liquidity and market expertise to US markets.”
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