Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race

Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have been very active in advertising their services. Several exchanges including Bitflyer, DMM Bitcoin, Tech Bureau’s Zaif and the hacked exchange Coincheck have been tapping into star power and launching TV commercials with original music.

Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

Japanese Exchanges’ TV Commercials

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
Actress in Zaif’s commercials.

Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have been actively advertising their businesses. Last week, Tech Bureau’s Zaif exchange joined Bitflyer, DMM Bitcoin, Bitrade, and Coincheck in tapping into Japan’s star power to promote its services.

According to CM Soken Consulting, a commercial researcher operated by Tokyo Kikaku Co, “the presence of TV commercials by cryptocurrency exchanges has significantly increased in the past year,” Japan Times reported. “Between Dec. 20 to Jan. 19, TV ads by Coincheck and Bitflyer were aired 819 times in the Kanto region, comparable to major firms such as Toyota Motor Corp, NTT Docomo Inc, and Mcdonald’s Japan.”

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
Actress in DMM Bitcoin’s commercials.

The news outlet also pointed out that a huge billboard for “DMM Bitcoin featuring a Japanese celebrity coated in gold” is prominently displayed in Shibuya, one of the busiest and most famous shopping districts in Tokyo. “When I was in London I would see ads all over Facebook, but never on TV or in the streets like this,” a 20-year-old British tourist admitted as he stood beneath the billboard.

Kenji Harashima, a senior researcher specializing in financial technologies for the Mizuho Research Institute, was quoted:

Japanese exchanges are the most active in the world. Not only is this the result of tight regulations in China and South Korea, it is also because you can use leverage to make investments.

DMM Bitcoin, Bitflyer and Coincheck “have all advertised on web platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. These same exchanges have also aired TV commercials,” the publication added.

Tech Bureau’s Zaif

Last week, Tech Bureau which operates Zaif crypto exchange started broadcasting a commercial nationwide featuring Japanese actress, model, and singer Ayame Goriki. According to her Wikipedia page, she has been in 37 TV series and has appeared in 7 movies.

The 1-minute commercial also features an original song loosely translated as “Zaif for bitcoin” by a band called “Kaneko Mari & Zaif 2 Da Moon.” Zaif says that the nationwide promotion is aimed at increasing service awareness as well as “improving the image of the industry as a whole.”

Bitflyer

Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Bitflyer, was the first to run TV commercials at the end of April of last year, according to Japan Times. At the time, the Japanese government had just legalized bitcoin as a legal method of payment.

Bitflyer hired Japanese actress and model Riko Narumi to be the company’s spokesmodel and appear in its commercials.

DMM Bitcoin

Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
DMM FX commercial featuring Laura.

DMM Group started advertising for its bitcoin exchange at the start of the year. The company launched a crypto exchange under the brand name DMM Bitcoin in January which supports 7 cryptocurrencies. Recently, it also launched a mining farm and a showroom in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.

DMM Bitcoin’s commercials feature an actress and model known as Laura and another actress called Rika Nakagawa. Laura has also been in other DMM Group’s commercials including those for the company’s foreign exchange arm, DMM FX.

Too Much Ad Spending?

Bittrade and Coincheck crypto exchanges have tapped into star power to advertise their businesses. Bittrade hired Japanese actress Ruriko Kojima to be its face. Coincheck hired popular local comedian Tetsuro Degawa. However, Coincheck’s ads were removed following the hack that cost the exchange 58 billion yen worth of NEM.

“Coincheck executives have admitted that they might have put more priority on attracting customers with ads rather than enhancing security,” Japan Times wrote and quoted SBI Holdings’ CEO Yoshitaka Kitao saying:

The thing that makes me the most angry is that they spent money on commercials that should have been spent on their systems.

The Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), an industry group with over 150 members including Coincheck, has requested its members to “advertise responsibly.”

What do you think of Japanese crypto exchanges’ advertising strategies? Which ads do you like most? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zaif, Bitflyer, and DMM Bitcoin.


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Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

Japan’s two cryptocurrency associations have reportedly decided to merge in order to restore trust in the industry and accelerate self-imposed rules. Once approved by the Japanese financial regulator, the new organization will have the power to set penalties for breaches of self-regulation.

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

Two Crypto Associations Merging

Japan currently has two cryptocurrency industry associations: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO, Yuzo Kano, and has a total of 88 members, while the latter has a total of 154 members, according to Minkabu publication.

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe two organizations have reportedly been in talks to merge after the hack of one of the country’s largest exchanges, Coincheck, where 58 billion yen worth on the cryptocurrency NEM were stolen. They “are hurried to restore trust in the industry,” Forbes Japan reported.

They “will be integrated to establish a new self-regulating organization,” to focus on areas such as safety management system and compensation of customer assets, the news outlet added. In addition, the new entity will also focus on the reliability of crypto exchanges that have already been approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Currently, there are 16 approved exchanges and 16 under review, including Coincheck.

On Thursday, Nikkei reported:

Two cryptocurrency industry groups in Japan [JBA and JCBA] have agreed to merge in an effort to accelerate the establishment of voluntary regulations and regain public trust in the aftermath of a massive virtual currency heist.

Set to launch on April 1, “The new organization’s chairman will likely be JCBA Chairman Taizen Okuyama, president of Money Partners Group,” the news outlet detailed, adding that Kano is “expected to become the self-regulatory body’s vice chairman.”

Commenting on the news of its merger with the JBA, the JCBA issued a statement on Thursday, stating that no details have been decided at this time.

Accelerating Self-Regulations

Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the IndustryThe new entity will need the approval of the FSA. Under Japan’s revised payment services law which went into effect in April of last year, cryptocurrency operators are allowed to form a self-regulatory organization. They can “set industry rules, conduct investigations on members, and impose punishment,” the Japan Times elaborated.

However, the FSA previously “refused to allow two self-regulatory bodies, urging the industry to create a unified organization by merging the JBA and the JCBA,” Nikkei explained on Thursday, adding that:

Once the new body is approved by the agency, it will gain the power to set penalties for breaches of its self-imposed rules. This should also help address calls by banks and other businesses in the conventional financial industry for virtual currency businesses to establish a robust self-regulatory regime.

Do you think the merger will help the crypto industry gain more of the public’s trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Japan’s Cryptocurrency Industry is Launching a Self-Regulatory Body

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Japan’s two primary cryptocurrency industry groups are merging to form a new self-regulatory entity following the recent $530 million hack of Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck. The unnamed new entity is set to launch April 1, the Nikkei reports, a year to the day after Japan’s revised Payment Services Act – which recognizes bitcoin as a legal … Continued

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Japanese Cryptocurrency Coincheck Faces Lawsuit over Withdrawals

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Investors have opened legal proceedings against embattled Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. The Tokyo based platform was the victim of a major hack last month, with a reported loss of $530 million worth of XEM. The platform quickly closed both fiat and cryptocurrency withdrawals following the breach, in an attempt to prevent further possible loss. Whilst Yen … Continued

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Japan’s GMO to Launch BTC, BCH Cloud Mining Service in August

Japan’s GMO to Launch BTC, BCH Cloud Mining Service in August

Japanese technology conglomerate GMO Internet is about to launch a new cloud offering for mining BTC and BCH. If you have at least $5 million that you want to invest in such a venture, and don’t want the hassle of opening your own mining farm, applications start next month.

Also Read: Coinbase Develops Bitpay Competitor Supporting BTC, BCH, ETH and LTC

Japan’s GMO to Launch BTC, BCH Cloud Mining Service in AugustGMO Internet Group (TYO:9449) has announced the expansion of its recently launched cryptocurrency business with a new cloud mining service, which will be launched in August 2018 if everything goes as planned. The Z.com Cloud Mining service will focus only on two cryptocurrencies based on the SHA256 algorithm, meaning bitcoin (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH).

Starting March 1, the company will start accepting priority applications from potential customers who wish to use the new service, and it has already been approached by interested parties. To present the new service to investors GMO Internet will hold information sessions about it in nine major cities across the world, including: Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich and Dubai.

The company also explains to green-conscience prospectors that “In terms of power supply, we operate a next-generation mining center utilizing plentiful renewable energy in the region, which has allowed us to secure clean and inexpensive power supply.”

Aiming Big

Japan’s GMO to Launch BTC, BCH Cloud Mining Service in AugustContractually wise, GMO Internet will rent out part of its mining farms equipped with its own next generation 7nm mining chips, as well as manage the facilities, all of which are operated through its European legal entity.

Rather than appeal to small players, the service seems to target bigger businesses who still find it difficult to invest in and manage mining equipment on their own. Customers will pay $5 million (or about 550 million JPY) per contract upfront for a 2 years contract, with no cancellation option and an extra charge to cover operational costs such as electricity, real estate, maintenance, security and more.

“With the cryptocurrency mining business, GMO Internet Group will aim to become No. 1 worldwide in the cryptocurrency service.”

The Tokyo-headquartered conglomerate, comprising more than 60 individual companies domiciled in 10 different countries, first announced its entry to the cryptocurrency mining industry during September of last year. In January, GMO Internet succeeded in developing a 12 nm semiconductor for mining, which was a significant milestone for the group. It is currently working on research and development of its 7nm chip technology.

Is the GMO cloud a good option for more big players to get into bitcoin mining? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw Funds

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw Funds

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck has submitted a report to the country’s financial authority outlining measures it will take following the hack that lost 58 billion yen worth of the cryptocurrency NEM from its platform. However, customers rush to withdraw 40.1 billion yen of their funds so far as the exchange resumes yen withdrawal service.

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

Coincheck’s Improvement Plans

Coincheck has submitted a report to the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) as mandated under the Order to Improve Business Operations. The order was handed to the exchange by the FSA following the hack that resulted in the loss of 58 billion yen (~USD$544 million) worth of NEM from its platform.

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw FundsIn its report, Coincheck explains key areas of improvement to the agency. Specifically, the exchange detailed four of its plans: “1) investigating the facts and causes surrounding this case, 2) [providing] proper support for our customers, 3) strengthening current measures to manage system risk, 4) creating new measures for system risk management and preventing similar events in the future in addition to making it clear where the responsibility lies for different risks.”

“We plan to continue making meaningful improvements to our system,” the exchange noted, adding:

We are continuing to confirm and improve the security of our systems in order to resume transfers of other cryptocurrencies and begin reparation payments as soon as possible.

Coincheck already provided a preliminary report to the FSA immediately following the hack. The agency then conducted an on-site inspection of the exchange as well as extended the inspections to all other exchanges in Japan.

Customers Rush to Withdraw Funds

Coincheck Produces Recovery Plan While Investors Flock to Withdraw FundsOn February 13, Coincheck resumed Japanese yen withdrawals as previously promised and successfully processed 40.1 billion yen (~$376 million), the exchange confirmed.

Yusuke Otsuka, Coincheck COO, said at a news conference that “the exchange would be able to meet future withdrawal requests,” but “declined to comment on the total amount of customers’ yen still stored at the exchange,” Reuters reported. He insisted:

We have the funds, but we are making individual checks so there are no problems (with repayments).

The exchange has also promised to repay its 260,000 affected customers but has yet to decide on the timeframe. The FSA also has not confirmed that the exchange possesses enough funds to make the repayments.

Meanwhile, seven cryptocurrency traders filed a lawsuit against Coincheck on Thursday at the Tokyo District Court. The plaintiff’s lawyer Hiromu Mochizuki told Reuters that the suit seeks “to allow withdrawals to private wallets…outside the hacked exchange.” He was further quoted by AFP that “Plaintiffs are demanding Coincheck return their cryptocurrencies – 13 different kinds including NEM.”

Do you think Coincheck will be able to repay its customers and regain their trust? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cnet, and Coincheck.


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Japanese Regulator Warns Unregistered Macau-Based Crypto Operator

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Japan’s primary financial regulator has warned an unregistered Macau-based cryptocurrency exchange operator against soliciting investors in Japan. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued its first warning under the country’s revised payment services law – which recognizes bitcoin as a legal method of payment – to Macau-based Blockchain Laboratory, an unregistered firm reportedly pursuing investors

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Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Cryptocurrency Activities

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency Activities

The Thai central bank has prohibited financial institutions in the country from five key cryptocurrency activities, including banning customers from buying cryptocurrencies with credit cards.

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

Banks Banned From 5 Crypto Activities

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesThe Bank of Thailand (BOT) issued a circular on Monday asking “financial institutions not to get involved in cryptocurrency transactions for fear of possible problems from the unregulated trading,” Reuters translated.

Mr. Wisit Santiprabop, the central bank’s governor, signed the circular which outlines five key cryptocurrency activities banks are banned from:

Investing or trading in cryptocurrency, exchanging cryptocurrencies, creating platforms for cryptocurrency trading, allowing clients to use credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies, and from advising customers on cryptocurrency investing or trading.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency Activities
Circular excerpt explaining the five crypto activities banks are banned from.

The central bank stated that “cryptocurrencies were not legal tender in Thailand,” the publication conveyed, adding that “it was worried that they may be used in illegal activities such as money laundering or supporting terrorism.”

Recently, the Thai government announced that it will not ban cryptocurrencies and is developing a regulatory framework for them.

Banks Complying

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMs. Prasanee Auiyamaphan, a Bangkok Bank Executive Assistant, was quoted by Voice TV saying that the bank has “no policy to provide [crypto] exchange services,” emphasizing that cryptocurrencies cannot be exchanged for cash at her bank.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMr. Thana Thienachariya, Senior Executive VP and Chief Marketing Officer at Siam Commercial Bank said that its subsidiary, Digital Ventures Co. Ltd., has previously formed a strategic alliance with Ripple to offer a payment service between Japan and Thailand. He added that his bank will be discussing this issue with the central bank.

Bank of Thailand Bans Banks From Five Cryptocurrency ActivitiesMr. Thakorn Piyapan, Head of Krungsri Consumer Group and an executive of Digital Banking and Innovation at Bank of Ayudhya said, “although the bank will use the transfer service across the country through Ripple,” it is cooperating with the BOT and “does not provide any [cryptocurrency] services at all.”

He explained that there are some areas that banks need to examine before being able to comply. For example, to prevent customers from buying cryptocurrencies using credit cards, he elaborated:

In Thailand, people are buying digital currency. So the bank is asking for time to check the type of transactions that customers [make when they] swipe cards that are associated with digital currency. If applicable, the bank may have to suspend the service.

Recently, banks in the US and well as the UK have also banned their credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies.

As for cryptocurrency traders, Poramin Insom, managing director of the Thai crypto exchange TDAX, said that “there is no impact on people who are investors of cryptocurrencies,” the news outlet quoted him. However, he explained, “TDAX is affected by this announcement, which makes the process of opening an account with the bank take longer. Bank of Thailand requests more documents.”

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


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bangkok Bank, SCB, Krungsri, and Bank of Thailand.


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Dubai Issues License to Cryptocurrency Firm

Dubai Issues License to Cryptocurrency Firm

The largest free economic zone in the UAE, with zero percent personal and corporate income tax, has started issuing licenses to firms trading cryptocurrencies. The first license has been issued to a gold trader that has recently started offering cryptocurrency services.

Also read: Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License

Attracting Crypto Businesses

UAE’s Largest Free Economic Zone Issues License to Cryptocurrency FirmThe Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) is a government entity established in 2002 to enhance commodity trade flows through Dubai. DMCC Free Zone is the largest and fastest growing free economic zone in the UAE.

“We perform a range of roles which continue to position Dubai as the preferred destination for global commodities trade and DMCC as the world’s No.1 Free Zone,” offering zero percent personal and corporate income tax, the center’s website states. Today, more than 14,100 multinational corporations and startups call DMCC home, with almost 90,000 people living and working there.

UAE’s Largest Free Economic Zone Issues License to Cryptocurrency FirmThe Centre has started issuing licenses to allow firms trading in cryptocurrencies to operate from its free zone, Thomson Reuters Zawya reported on Monday.

DMCC’s executive director for commodities, Sanjeev Dutta, told the publication that the Centre is “beginning to facilitate” a market in cryptocurrencies which, he acknowledged, is unregulated. Citing that firms looking to set up in the zone would be considered on a “case-by-case” basis, he elaborated:

To me, what is important is the fact that you are still evaluating it as part of your innovation strategy. You are not saying ‘no’ to something. You are not saying ‘yes’ either, but you are exploring, so you are clearly ahead of the others when the time to make a decision comes.

Cryptocurrencies as Commodities

DMCC is a member of the Global Blockchain Council, which began as a Dubai Smart City project and has 46 member organizations globally today. The Centre’s director of innovation hub, Franco Bosoni, said that a global consensus is emerging which favors classifying cryptocurrencies as commodities, the news outlet detailed and quoted him explaining:

DMCC’s view is that these [cryptocurrencies] meet the test of a commodity. They’re priced based on supply and demand, produced and sold globally at a uniform quality and (are) indistinguishable between products.

Wai Lum Kwok, head of capital markets for Abu Dhabi Global Markets Regulatory Authority, told the publication on Sunday that the regulator is “reviewing and considering the development of a robust, risk-appropriate regulatory framework” for crypto exchanges and intermediaries. Emphasizing that no timeframe has been set, he added:

As we develop our framework, we will also want to check in and have the conversations with, for example, US regulators, Japanese regulators and so on and so forth, so that there is some alignment of approach to avoid any regulatory arbitrage.

First License Issued

UAE’s Largest Free Economic Zone Issues License to Cryptocurrency FirmThe first license for the Free Zone reportedly went to Regal Assets, a gold trader and storage provider with offices in the US, Canada, and the UAE. The company added cryptocurrencies to its product line at the end of last year, offering brokerage services and an insured, high-security cold storage service for bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, ethereum classic, ripple, and dash.

According to Bloomberg, “Dubai gold trader Regal RA DMCC is the first company in the Middle East to get a license to trade cryptocurrencies.” The news outlet quoted DMCC acknowledging in a statement, “The company will offer storage of bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies in a vault located in DMCC headquarters in Almas Tower in Dubai.”

DMCC Executive Chairman Ahmed Bin Sulayem was quoted by the publication, “At the heart of DMCC’s long-term strategic growth plan is the use of technology and innovation to disrupt and connect new markets, industries and customers,” adding that “the announcement today embodies this approach.”

Do you think more crypto companies will move to this free economic zone? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and DMCC.


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Coincheck Clients Withdraw $372 Million; NEM Theft Refunds are Coming

The post Coincheck Clients Withdraw $372 Million; NEM Theft Refunds are Coming appeared first on CCN

After removing a temporary freeze on withdrawals today, Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck said it has completed transfers worth 40.1 billion JPY ($372 million) in withdrawal requests by customers. Weeks after suffering the ignominy of being the victim of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency theft, ever, Coincheck has kept its promise to lift the temporary suspension on … Continued

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Japanese Internet Giant GMO Plans Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Cloud Mining Launch in August

The post Japanese Internet Giant GMO Plans Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash Cloud Mining Launch in August appeared first on CCN

GMO Internet, a multi-billion publicly listed Japanese internet and technology conglomerate, has unveiled plans to launch its new bitcoin cloud mining service in August. Founded in the early 1990s, Tokyo-based GMO announced its foray into the cryptocurrency space in September with a multi-million-dollar investment into a new mining venture. Crypto mining sees miners gain newly … Continued

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