Goldman Sachs ex-trader launches Japan’s first bitcoin exchange following the demise of the Mt. Gox exchange
Bitcoin (BTC) is the most popular crypto-currency and covers more than 90% of the crypto-currency universe with a market value of $8.09 billion at current prices. Given the potential that can be seen and the latest developments in the Japanese market that led to Mt. Gox declaring it bankrupt and moving out from the country, the vacuum had to be filled. The opportunity was cashed in by former Goldman Sachs (GS) employee, Mr. Yuzo Kano, who started his own bitcoin exchange based in Japan called “bitFlyer”.
Kano, who began working at Goldman Sachs in 2001 as an analyst and later moved to being a derivatives and convertible bonds trader, is eager to reestablish bitcoins’ image in Japan and help it expand into other markets before 2015.
Just before the collapse of Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Japan earlier this year, bitFlyer began functioning and is set to make the country see a revival of the bitcoin ecosystem.
bitFlyer allows individuals to acquire bitcoins easily using their Japanese bank accounts, with the firm acting as a counterpart to either transaction. This makes the exchange friendlier to first timers and slashes the complicated price-setting mechanisms. The firm is working toward opening a Japenese-language bitcoin exchange with bitcoin-to-yen (and vice-versa) trading for which it recently raised ¥160 million ($1.6 million).
According to Mr. Kano, the decision to open bitFlyer after moving to Japan was influenced by the instability of work at Goldman and that doing something on his own will reap more benefits. With his love for complex systems and previous experience as a derivatives trader, bitcoins caught Kano’s eye.
Mt.Gox was operated by a Frenchman residing in Tokyo and catered to foreigners mostly; hence, its bankruptcy was covered by domestic media extensively and scared off Japanese individuals who are already thought to be risk averse by Kano.
Opportunity Seekers & Future Outlook
With help from Japan Authority of Digital Asset (JADA), bitFlyer is looking forward to set security standards and personal identification guidelines for Bitcoin trading in Japan, which will see the company grouped with Coinpass and the Japanese unit of Kraken (a San Francisco-based exchange).
With the gap in the market left by Mt .Gox, the trading of digital currency will rise with new entrants seeking to take advantage. Such is the case with China-based bitcoin ATM manufacturer BitOcean, which announced it would partner with Atlas AT, a NYC-based exchange technology provider, to launch an exchange in the Asian market. The bitcoin market will be positively impacted as Rakuten Group, Japanese e-commerce giant, looks into accepting bitcoins as a means of trade.