Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is making it tougher for cryptocurrency exchanges to register their businesses in the country, requiring disclosure of a lot more information than before, the Japan Times reported.
The regulator is requiring applicants to answer approximately 400 questions, from about 100 questions previously, during the screening process, as part of its efforts to keep customers’ money safe.
Among the added requirements for exchanges is to provide the FSA copies of minutes of board meetings, to ensure that sufficient discussions are held about a company’s financial management, and about database security. The FSA will also monitor a company’s list of shareholders, checking for, as the Japan Times phrased it, “links to antisocial groups.”
According to news.bitcoin.com, there are 160 companies looking to operate in Japan, but it remains to be seen how many will pursue their applications with the added requirements. At present, there are 16 exchanges licensed by the FSA. Another 16 are operating while their applications are pending review.
The stricter registration process comes after the January hacking of Coincheck, which lost a total of 523 million NEM tokens (XEM) worth $528 million at the time. This was larger than the 2014 Mt Gox hack where thieves took off with Bitcoins worth $480 million at the time. As early as March, Coincheck began the process of partially refunding those whose tokens were stolen.
Since the Coincheck hack, the FSA has conducted on-site inspections as a way to confirm information stated in applications. Such inspections revealed a lack of protection for users, in terms of manpower assigned to handle the large sums of money, and a skirting of anti-money laundering requirements. Some exchanges were suspended as a result. It was also found that records of minutes of the board were not kept properly.
The FSA has stated that it would allow the local cryptocurrency industry to grow, but “under appropriate regulation.”