A cryptocurrency exchange, most notably backed by the Japanese banking behemoth SBI Holdings, has just launched to the public in Japan. This comes nearly two years following the initial announcement that the platform would be developed and most recently follows months of delays.
The platform, called ”VCTRADE”, is operated by SBI Virtual Currencies – a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI Holdings – and this reportedly marks the first time an established financial institution has backed a cryptocurrency exchange.
VCTRADE has already started accepting account applications from Japanese users between the ages of 20 and 70 who were not part of the pre-registration group that applied to the platform last October. In other words, VCTRADE has finally launched to the public.
This comes following several delays and setbacks for the service. In fact, the most recent source of criticism has been that VCTRADE has actually been operational for the past month, albeit only to the around 20,000 users who were part of the pre-registration troop.
At the time of VCTRADE’s limited June launch, it only sported support for trading the XRP token against the Japanese yen. Since this, however, the platform has introduced support for both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash trading as well.
The fact that VCTRADE launched with support for XRP, Ripple’s token, should not come as a surprise if one considers the ”SBI Ripple Asia” joint venture launched earlier this year, which looks to bring blockchain-based remittances to consumers.
Nonetheless, VCTRADE has not yet made any registration service available for corporate customers, as it would seem the service is initially rolling out to private and retail users.
The service was initially announced by SBI Holdings in October of 2016, and it then received the go-ahead and an operating license from the Japanese Financial Services Agency at the end of 2017.
However, the platform evidently did not launch until early June of this year, citing security-related reasons. More specifically, the firm is said to have doubled down to increase its internal security in the aftermath of Coincheck’s colossal $533 million hack this January.
In hindsight, beefing up security might very well have been a good decision for the service. Nevertheless, only time will tell whether the efforts were sufficient in order to prevent any hacks from taking place.
The fact that SBI Holdings has now de facto launched a cryptocurrency exchange of its own should be recognized as a significant step towards bringing the banking sector and the cryptocurrency industry closer together – at least in Japan.
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Rasmus Pihl is a writer for Toshi Times by day and an avid follower of the blockchain industry by night. Rasmus holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the Gothenburg School of Business, Economics, and Law and runs a Swedish marketing consulting firm. Moreover, when he isn’t writing for Toshi Times, traveling, working or changing the world in some other capacity, Rasmus is more than likely caught up in postgraduate studies.