Fisco Completes Takeover of Japanese Crypto Exchange Zaif
Regulated Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has completed its business transfer. Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange is its new operator, taking over from Tech Bureau. This follows Zaif’s September hack, which cost the exchange approximately $62 million in three different cryptocurrencies.
One Operator, Two Separate Exchanges
Osaka-based Tech Bureau Corp., which has been operating cryptocurrency exchange Zaif, announced on Thursday that it has completed transferring all of Zaif’s businesses to Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange Inc. Fisco also operates a regulated Japanese exchange under the name Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange (Fcce).
Starting on Nov. 22, Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange is the new operator of Zaif. Tech Bureau clarified that Fisco will operate both its own exchange and Zaif “as separate services as before.”
The takeover follows the hack of Zaif, which occurred on Sept. 14, from which the exchange claims to have lost 7 billion yen (~$62 million). Following the hack, Fisco agreed to provide “financial support of ¥5 billion yen” to Tech Bureau and entered into a “capital alliance enabling acquisition of a majority of the company’s shares.”
Dissolution and Suspension of Services
Current users of Zaif have been asked to give consent to the business transfer before they can resume using the exchange.
Zaif’s website now displays the message: “The administration of the site has changed to Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange Inc … We request that all users who have not given their acceptance to the migration of their contract in the Transfer of Business to complete the consent procedures.” Members who have given consent can continue to use Zaif’s services, less some that have been temporarily suspended. For those who have not given consent, Tech Bureau explained:
Since we plan to conduct the dissolution process after abolishing the registration of the virtual currency exchange after the transfer [to Fisco], we are highly unlikely to be able to [continue to] offer the services related to Zaif business.
Some services have been suspended during the transition period such as the deposits and withdrawals of BTC, BCH, and MONA — the three cryptocurrencies stolen in the September hack. Members also cannot buy or sell MONA at this time. In addition, the withdrawals of a number of cryptocurrencies have been halted.
The Zaif Coin Reserve service, which Tech Bureau describes as a “fixed-amount installment deposit service for virtual currencies,” has also been suspended. This includes new registrations, debits from bank accounts, and purchases of cryptocurrencies through the service.
Japan’s Changing Exchange Landscape
Both Zaif and Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange are among the 16 regulated cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. The others are Bitflyer, Money Partners, Bitbank, Bitpoint, Quoine, SBI Virtual Currencies, Btcbox, GMO Coin, Bittrade, DMM Bitcoin, Bitarg Exchange Tokyo, Ftt Corporation, Xtheta Corporation, and Bitocean.
In September, Huobi acquired a majority stake in Bittrade. In April, Yahoo! Japan confirmed the acquisition of Bitarg through its wholly owned subsidiary Z Corporation.
Japan also has three other crypto exchanges that have been allowed to operate while their applications are being reviewed by the country’s financial regulator. The three are Coincheck, Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin. Coincheck was acquired by Monex Group after it was hacked in January. SBI Group is a major investor in Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin has been acquired by Rakuten.