Major banks in Japan, the U.S. and Europe are developing a blockchain-based digital coin that can be used to instantly settle overseas money transfers instantly, lowering transaction costs by cutting out intermediaries.
On Oct. 15, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed during an extraordinary Cabinet meeting that the government would raise the consumption tax from 8 to 10 percent next Oct. 1. The tax hike has already been postponed twice owing to jitters over how it might affect consumption. The last consumption tax increase, in 2014, sparked a recession, and reportedly there is still a chance that Abe might postpone the hike once again if economic indicators show a similar scenario. Consequently, the prime minister said the government would do its “utmost to minimize a negative impact on the economy by implementing all sorts of policies.”
With $300 million in fresh funding, one of the biggest U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges is looking for a foothold in Asia, a signal of the region's growing clout as bitcoin looks into the next decade.
Japan's Financial Services Agency is considering leverage caps for margin trading of cryptocurrencies to curb speculative trading and limit user exposure to volatility risks.
Major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said Japan's tighter scrutiny of the industry will give it an advantage, signaling the company's confidence in securing regulatory approval to enter a market rocked by hacking scandals.
The Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that lost over 7 billion yen ($61.5 million) to hackers last month has yet to repay the victims of the breach, while both industry and regulators seek stronger consumer protections against the risks plaguing the field.
A group of cryptocurrency exchange operators plans to tighten self-regulatory measures it follows on the management of customer assets in the wake of another hacking incident in early September, informed sources said Saturday.
Global banks such as HSBC and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group along with local players like Japan's Resona Holdings and Bank of Ayudhya in Thailand are embracing blockchain technology to offer lower-cost services as financial technology companies threaten their dominance.