One of the Japanese market’s most active exchanges, QUOINE, is getting into the altcoin trading business. There’s one catch though — Japan residents aren’t allowed to sign up.
Doesn’t Japan Love Cryptocurrencies Now?
One quirk of regulation is that it can be permissive in some areas while stifling other aspects of the same industry. Medical and drug regulation is one example. Japan is now famous for its recognition of digital currencies — but that doesn’t mean a free-for-all to trade everything that exists.
QUOINE now has QRYPTOS — a completely non-fiat digital exchange offering trades in blue-chip cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ripple, ethereum, litecoin, ethereum classic, monero and zcash. It onboards new currencies on the criteria they have a market cap of over $500 million USD. Existing QUOINE users can use their same accounts, except those in Japan.
Japanese Regulators Still Not Familiar With Altcoins
Its original exchange, though, offers only BTC and ETH. CEO Mike Kayamori explained in a recent press conference that regulators had studied only those two tokens, and therefore would be more likely to approve a company trading only those.
Under the new regulations which took effect 1st April, Japanese digital currency companies have six months (deadline 1st October) to prove compliance to the Financial Service Agency (FSA). Kayamori suggested that some companies won’t make the cut.
If the recent crypto boom is indeed thanks to an injection of Japanese money, QRYPTOS may have to wait before it can get some. Proving its reliability outside Japan would hopefully make a better case to the FSA at a later date.
The company also puts an emphasis on security, saying it is “based on best practices regulating exchanges, as set by the FSA.”
Speaking to Bitsonline, Kayamori said:
“We will let FSA decide on the right timing for the regulation of other cryptocurrencies. Concurrently, we will continue our dialogue on the regulatory framework of cryptocurrencies with other industry players.”
Altcoin Boom Continues Alongside Bitcoin
He said the QRYPTOS exchange is still officially in beta, but the response had been positive so far. QUOINE users and others were attracted by the current general interest in cryptocurrency trading, and also in the exchanges’ fee structure. Its maker-taker model charges “takers” 0.15% trading fees and awards 50% of them back to “makers”.
A fee comparison chart on the front page suggests QRYPTOS is taking aim at big altcoin exchanges like Poloniex.
Does the team think the current bitcoin and altcoin boom is a bubble, though? Could an altcoin-only business maintain enthusiasm if investors’ enthusiasm suddenly ended?
“As an exchange, by nature we are a neutral market participant,” Kayamori added. “We are here to help facilitate liquidity for cryptocurrency markets, regardless of market movements. We are committed to the long term vision that digital currencies will help create an open and more inclusive financial system.”
QUOINE Popular in Japan, Looks to China and Beyond
In mid-2014, QUOINE was one of the first bitcoin exchanges to serve the Japanese market after Mt. Gox. In the months after Gox closed down in February that year, Japan residents actually had no local options to trade bitcoin online. Completing KYC/AML procedures on foreign exchanges is always difficult, as Japanese identity documents are all in… well, Japanese.
The company has offices in Singapore, Vietnam and Japan, allowing a little more freedom internationally while staying compliant in Japan. Most of its business comes from the Japanese market. However it also trades in multiple fiat currencies across the region — including CNY, SGD and AUD on top of USD, EUR and JPY. It also supports lesser-known currencies like Indian rupee, Philippines peso and Indonesian rupiah.
QRYPTOS’ language options are English and Chinese, giving a hint of where it could be more popular in the future. For their part, Chinese traders are probably also looking for more international options.
Do you trade altcoins? Where, and why? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via QUOINE/QRYPTOS, Pixabay