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Coincheck gets FSA approval to run cryptocurrency exchange one year after the NEM theft

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About a year after a massive digital heist that shocked the cryptocurrency industry around the world, Japan’s financial watchdog gave Coincheck Inc. the green light Friday to officially run a virtual currency exchange.

Following the Coincheck hacking case in late January that cost the Tokyo-based startup ¥58 billion worth of NEM coins, the Financial Services Agency began inspecting other exchanges, stalling the approval process for newcomers. No new operators were given the OK last year as a result.

With Coincheck gaining permission, the FSA will likely proceed with the examination process for other companies. The watchdog has said about 190 firms have shown interest in the exchange business.

Virtual currency exchanges are not allowed to operate without registering with the FSA. Those including Coincheck that had been in business before the new regulation took effect in April 2017 were only allowed to operate on a tentative basis.

After the Coincheck hack, the FSA ordered Coincheck to improve its management, security and internal controls.

“The managerial environment of the cryptocurrency industry changes rapidly. We must make unceasing efforts to improve security and internal control,” Coincheck CEO Toshihiko Katsuya told a news conference Friday.

Last April, Monex Group Inc., a major online brokerage, announced plans to acquire Coincheck as it believes crypto-based businesses will be a driver of growth in the future.

The Monex group has been running its online financial business since 1999, so it claims to have a plenty of know-how and experience building robust security systems and inner management that it can share with Coincheck.

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