After nearly two years of waiting since its formal announcement, the world’s first bank-owned cryptocurrency was launched in Japan. The Japanese financial giant SBI has publicly launched its cryptocurrency exchange, dubbed ‘VCTRADE’.
Japan is one of the largest crypto markets in the world, where exchanges are licensed under regulatory laws. According to a report by CNN in June, SBI first announced a limited launch for some 20,000 pre-registered users, who registered during the previous year, while the major launch was held off to take place in Japan.
SBI Virtual Currencies – the operator of VCTRADE and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI Holdings – has begun accepting applications for new customer accounts. The launch sees the bank-owned cryptocurrency exchange welcome all Japanese residents between 20-70 years. At this time, the exchange is only accepting retail investors with institutional or corporate investors currently kept ineligible.
In its initial launch last month, VCTRADE started trading Ripple. They have congenitally partnered with Ripple, jointly operating SBI Ripple Asia with the San Francisco FinTech giant. This could be to leverage most out of the Ripple Blockchain Tech as well as the smooth flow of XRP in Asian markets. Within weeks of the launch, they gained the support of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin (BTC), as three cryptocurrencies are now traded on the exchange.
This exchange had been in the buzz but had been long delayed. The SBI Group first announced the launch of this exchange in October 2016. It was then postponed to January 2018, despite completing registration and acquiring a license.
Perhaps, the infamous $530 million hack of the Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck in January led the company into rechecking their security handles. Yet, with the launch of this exchange, they have become the first traditional mainstream financial institution to enter the crypto space.