Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has announced that it will be halting its trading services for Japanese residents, citing rising costs in Japan for the decision.

The San Francisco-based exchange, which began operating in 2014, has said that it will cease operations by the end of June, reports Bloomberg. It added that it may re-enter Japan at some point in the future; however, no date was given.

In a statement, Kraken wrote:

Suspending services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas. This is a localised suspension of service that only affects residents of Japan and does not impact services for Japanese citizens or businesses domiciled outside of Japan.

Seen as one of the most friendly destinations for cryptocurrency activities, Japan has recently been taking a firmer stance with digital currency exchanges following the hack at Tokyo-based Coincheck in January, which saw the theft of $530 million worth of NEM.

Since then Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has conducted onsite inspections at the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges in order to boost security with investors’ investments. Of the 32, 16 exchanges had received licenses to operate; however, the remaining 16 were also permitted to continue their services as their applications were being reviewed. One of those that had been allowed to continue functioning in Japan was Kraken.

Now, though, it has decided to stop its services to Japanese residents claiming rising costs as the reason for its decision. Already, several exchanges in Japan that were awaiting approval have ceased operations. Last month, it was reported that Tokyo GateWay and Fukuoka-based Mr Exchange had withdrawn their applications with the FSA. Others that have also done this include Raimu, bitExpress, and Bit Station.

Unlike China, though, which has taken the approach of banning cryptocurrency trading, Japan still remains open to the market. So much so, that earlier this month it was reported that Japan was taking the first steps to legalising initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to a report. It’s expected that they will be deliberated later this month. If it is accepted it could become law within the next few years.

Featured image from Flickr via Crypto Trading Edge.

 

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