For quite some time now, Japan has been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency industry thanks to the innovators and forward-thinking stakeholders residing in the country who have quickly adopted the technology. Even though most Japanese citizens are all for the crypto revolution, the regulatory bodies in the country are taking a more cautious stance in a bid to protect the citizens from scams or hacks.
On that note, the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has reportedly introduced new screening requirement for cryptocurrency exchanges that are seeking approval to operate within Japanese borders. As reported by the Japan Times, the agency has “tightened its registration screening for cryptocurrency exchanges to see whether they are properly conducting risk management.”
As such, FSA’s focus extends beyond the registrant’s financial health and system safety measures to more explicit criteria such as the crypto exchanges’ links to antisocial groups and their decision-making process. The Japan Times further revealed that the agency will now have about 400 screening questions which is about four times the number they would ask in the past.
“It [FSA] now obligates applicants to submit minutes of board meetings so it can check whether enough discussions have been held about measures to sustain the company’s financial health and ensure the security of its computer system,” the sources told the Japan Times. “The upgraded screening process also regularly reviews the composition of an applicant company’s shareholders, while examining if an internal system is in place to check for links to antisocial groups.”
The FSA’s decree that the exchanges submit board meeting minutes is not only meant to ensure security but also confirm that the executive members of the company are proactively and legitimately involved in the various exchanges’ decision-making processes. In addition to this, the screening process will involve a regular review of the primary shareholders so as to “examine if an internal system is in place to check for links to antisocial groups.”
Even though this will go a long way in filtering out scams and shady business, analysts are worried that the new regulatory move might end up hampering the development of the cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. However, there are close to zero other ways of handling the situation at the moment.
One of the factors that incentivized the FSA’s move was an inspection of Coincheck, a crypto exchange that was hacked in January, and 23 others. A report that was recently revealed by the agency cited “sloppy internal controls” and “lack of board meetings.” These findings were not very reassuring especially considering the fact that about 160 cryptocurrency exchanges are now interested in entering the Japanese market.