Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License

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The Japanese financial regulator will be issuing its first warning since the legalization of cryptocurrencies as a method of payment in Japan. An overseas initial coin offering agency has reportedly been attracting Japanese investors without a license, repeatedly ignoring the agency’s advice to cease operating in the country.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

FSA’s Warning

Japan’s Financial Service Agency (FSA) will issue a warning to an unregistered initial coin offering (ICO) agency, which has been conducting business in Japan without a license, Nikkei reported. The news outlet elaborated:

The warning will be issued to Blockchain Laboratory, based in Macau. The agency has decided the company’s activities could cause investors to incur losses. The FSA will work with the police and the Consumer Affairs Agency to bring criminal charges if the company fails to respond to the warning.

Japan Cracks Down on Overseas ICO Agency Operating Without a LicenseHeadquartered in Macau, “Blockchain Laboratory operates as an initial coin offering agency to raise funds using cryptocurrencies,” the publication described. The company’s activities include cryptocurrency and ICO consulting services and conducting seminars to attract investors.

The FSA has repeatedly advised the company to “halt its business activities in Japan, without success,” the publication detailed. According to the officials of the agency, the FSA “will warn the company directly, and name it on the FSA’s home page.” If the operator still fails to comply, criminal charges will be filed.

License Needed to Operate in Japan

Japan Cracks Down on Overseas ICO Agency Operating Without a LicenseSince the revised payment services law went into effect in April of last year, Japan has recognized cryptocurrencies as a legal method of payment. The law also requires crypto exchanges to register with the FSA. It “allows only registered operators, or those that have applied for registration, to operate in Japan,” Nikkei emphasized.

The warning to Blockchain Laboratory will be the FSA’s first under the revised payment services law. “The move is part of the FSA’s more aggressive scrutiny of the activities of unregistered operators in Japan,” the news outlet conveyed, adding that:

The revised law prohibits such unregistered exchanges from operating and soliciting in the country.

Currently, there are 16 cryptocurrency exchanges with a license to operate in Japan and another 16 are under review, including Coincheck which suffered a loss of 58 billion yen (~USD$533 million) in a recent hack.

In a recent interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Bitflyer CFO Midori Kanemitsu said:

Now people understand that they need to use safe exchanges, which are registered with FSA and have a high standard of security.

What do you think of the FSA’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the FSA.

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