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US cryptocurrency bourse Coinbase enters Japanese market

Nao Kitazawa, president of Coinbase K.K., the Japanese arm of major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange operator Coinbase Global Inc., speaks at an online press conference on Aug. 19, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. started operating in Japan on Thursday, its local arm said, as virtual currency investing intensifies in response to the impacts of monetary easing policies implemented to cushion the global economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

    The entry into the Japanese market by Coinbase K.K., which directly sells and buys major cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum based on customer orders as well as facilitating transactions, is expected to intensify competition among similar bourse operators including the Tokyo-based bitFlyer Inc. and Coincheck Inc.

    "We aim to enhance recognition that crypto asset transactions are safe and secure," Nao Kitazawa, president of Coinbase K.K., told an online press conference.

    Those who have accounts with major Japanese commercial bank MUFG Bank can make deposits and withdrawals of cryptocurrencies at Coinbase online, according to the company.

    The subsidiary of Coinbase began preparing for entry into the world's third-largest economy in 2018 and was registered on the Japanese Financial Services Agency's list of crypto asset bourses in June, the firm said.

    Large-scale stimulus packages and monetary easing measures by Japan, the United States and Europe to ease the economic fallout from the pandemic have been increasing interest in cryptocurrencies as many investors look to hedge against the risk of rising inflation.

    The boom in demand for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies since around the latter half of 2020 led to increased valuation of coins and tokens, although volatility has seen large fluctuations in prices.

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