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Japan’s regulator verifies 2 new digital currency alliances

Financial regulators in Japan have approved two organizations to act as digital currency associations.

The Financial Services Agency (FSA), which oversees licensing and regulating businesses within the financial sectors, announced it had approved the bodies as Certified Financial Instruments and Exchange Associations.

The Japan STO Association and the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Business Association (JVCEA) are now formally recognized as self-regulatory groups for security token offerings, digital currency assets, and derivative transactions. As a result, JVCEA will change its name on the 1st of May, becoming the Japan Crypto Asset Trading Business Association in recognition of its change of status.

JVCEA is currently the official body for self-regulation within the digital currency industry, with the authority to make rules and policies for digital currency exchanges operating in Japan. It currently regulates some 21 digital currency exchanges operating under license from the FSA, with an extra three companies regulated as “second-class” members, including Coinbase, Tokyo Hash, and Digital Asset Markets.

The certification comes at a time of accelerating pressure on digital currency exchanges in Japan, with both JVCEA and the FSA continuing to develop standards for the emerging industry.

In particular, the difficulty of leverage has come to the forefront, with the FSA proposing a cut within the maximum leverage cap available for digital exchanges. It comes after JVCEA introduced a 4x maximum in 2019, though there’s now pressure from some within the industry to chop this further to 2x. This would bring Japanese standards in accordance with the rules elsewhere, including within the EU, where a 2x maximum leverage cap is already effective.

The FSA is assumed to be considering legislation for a cap once the amended Financial Instruments and Exchange Act comes into effect. Currently, with two new regulatory associations operating within the digital currency sector, firms in Japan can expect to face more significant regulation and better standards of compliance.