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Binance finally big in Japan: World's largest crypto exchange purchases 100% of Sakura

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(Kitco News) - Cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced on Wednesday that it has acquired 100% of Sakura Exchange BitCoin (SEBC), a Japanese-registered crypto exchange. The acquisition means that Binance is now operating in the Japanese market as a Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA) regulated entity.

“The Japanese market will play a key role in the future of cryptocurrency adoption,” said Takeshi Chino, general manager of Binance Japan. “As one of the world’s leading economies with a highly developed tech ecosystem, it’s already poised for strong blockchain uptake. We will actively work with regulators to develop our combined exchange in a compliant way for local users. We are eager to help Japan take a leading role in crypto.”

SEBC was established in 2017, but only obtained its JFSA license last month. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the Sakura purchase, Binance has now secured regulatory approvals or authorizations in France, Italy, Spain, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, New Zealand, Kazakhstan, Poland, Lithuania, and Cyprus. SEBC represents Binance’s first license in East Asia.

SEBC is a JFSA-registered crypto exchange that offers a brokerage service as well as consultation services. Sakura Exchange BitCoin is based in Tokyo, and currently supports 11 trading pairs: BTC/JPY, ETH/JPY, BCH/JPY, XRP/JPY, LTC/JPY, ETC/JPY, XEM/JPY, MONA/JPY, ADA/JPY, XYM/JPY, and COT/JPY.

“We are honored and delighted to make this announcement with Binance, one of the world’s leading crypto asset exchange service providers,” said Hitomi Yamamoto, CEO of SEBC. “On top of our effort to prioritize user protection, Binance’s strong compliance system will contribute to building a more compliant atmosphere for users in Japan and help them access key crypto services needed for mass adoption in the future.”

Later on Wednesday, Binance announced that new users in Japan will no longer be able to register on Binance.com as of today. “Existing users will not be affected by the changes, and can continue to use products and service offerings on Binance.com,” they wrote.

The SEBC acquisition is the latest chapter in the ongoing regulatory dance between the leading cryptocurrency exchange by market share and the third-largest economy in the world. Binance was forced to exit Japan in 2018 after the JFSA accused it of operating without a license. The regulator issued another warning in 2021 that Binance was still doing business with Japanese customers.

The move further bolsters Binance’s position as the preeminent crypto exchange, having acquired a staggering 75% market share of all exchange transactions in November according to data from Cryptocompare following the collapse of rival FTX earlier in the month.

U.S. lawmakers have asked the company’s founder, Changpeng Zhao, to testify before congress about his role in the implosion of FTX and Alameda Research at the upcoming hearings beginning Dec. 13.

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