Financial Services Agency (Japan)

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Financial Services Agency
Founded 2000
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
Key People Toshihide Endo, Commissioner
Releases Company News

The Financial Services Agency ("FSA" or "agency") regulates cryptocurrency exchanges as well as initial coin offerings in Japan.


The agency is an organ of the Japanese Government and answers to the State Minister and the Minister of State for Financial Services, who are elected Members of the Diet, the Japanese parliament. The agency oversees the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission and the Certified Public Accountants and Auditing Oversight Board and, separately, the Commissioner supervises additional financial services such as banks and insurance companies.[1]

Japan has provided the setting for the two largest publicly reported thefts of cryptocurrency as of August 19, 2018: $490 million of coins and cash fromMt. Gox in August 2014 and about $534 million of NEM coins from Coincheck in January 2018.

Acting upon new legislation in 2016 which amended the 2009 Japanese Act on Settlement of Funds, the FSA published regulations for businesses that are "Virtual Currency Exchangers" and began accepting applications in April 2017. The rules require applicants to disclose organizational and corporate information and to adhere to AML and KYC standards. [2] Along with ten other exchanges, Coincheck received its Virtual Currency Exchanger license in September 2017.[3][4]

About ten months after granting its first licenses and in light of the subsequent huge theft at at a licensed exchange, Coincheck, the FSA was reported in July 2018 to be considering changing the legal basis for regulating cryptocurrency from the Payment Services Act to the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. Because the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act requires entities to separately handle customer funds from house accounts, the FSA would be helping to protect against repeat of the Coincheck theft in which customer and house funds were commingled.[5]