Bitcoin prices rose above $7,400 Tuesday after reports that Japanese online brokerage firm Monex Group is looking to take over a recently-hacked Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck.
The Japanese company plans to bid several billion yen for a majority stake in Coincheck as soon as this week, and will set up a new management team to rehabilitate the exchange, the Nikkei Asian Review reported Tuesday
Bitcoin prices hit a high of $7,430.56 following the news, according to data from CoinDesk. Shares of Monex also rose more than 23 percent on the Japanese stock exchange after the report.
Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BK Capital Management, said the possibility of a Monex deal bolstered views that mainstream cryptocurrency adoption is on the way, helping bitcoin prices Tuesday.
“It’s a massive confidence boost, you now have a regulated public company in Japan buying into a crypto exchange,” Kelly said. “This puts a stamp of approval, and Japan is a huge driver of this market.”
The potential Monex acquisition could be a wake-up call for other brokerage firms.
Monex owns U.S.-based online brokerage TradeStation, which Kelly pointed out would now in one way or another, be attached to Coincheck. TradeStation started offering bitcoin futures trading this year. It also offers real-time market data for bitcoin, ethereum, bitcoin cash and litecoin.
“If you are Etrade, Schawb or any small-to mid brokerage firm and you have seen Robinhood eat your lunch,” Kelly said. “With TradeStation entering the market you must be paying attention.”
Fin-tech start-up Robinhood is rolling out zero-fee trading for bitcoin and ethereum on a state-by-state basis. As of this week, it’s available for users in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Montana.
After a historic rise to almost $20,000 in 2017, bitcoin prices are down more than 47 percent this year, partially due to high-profile hacks like Coincheck, news of tech giants cracking down on advertising, and global regulatory uncertainty.
Coincheck drew the attention of Japanese regulators early this year after hackers stole roughly 523 million lesser-known NEM coins from the exchange. The coins were worth about 58 billion yen at the time, or roughly $534.8 million, according to the exchange.
In March, Japanese regulators issued punishment notices to multiple cryptocurrency exchanges and forced some to stop business altogether.