This week, a number of companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange revealed their plans to enter the crypto exchange business for the first time. They include one of the most popular budget-managing app operators, an entertainment conglomerate, one of the largest music labels, and a medical corporation. These corporations join other public companies that previously announced their plans to launch crypto exchanges such as SBI Group, Line Corp, and Yahoo! Japan.
Budget-managing app operator Money Forward Inc (TYO: 3994) made two crypto-related announcements this week. Launched in 2012, the company “has grown rapidly to become one of the hottest financial technology startups, with its namesake application now boasting 5.5 million users,” the Japan Times described.
The company announced on Wednesday the establishment of a wholly-owned subsidiary, Money Forward Financial Co. Ltd., adding:
Money Forward Financial Co., Ltd. (‘MF Financial’) will start media related to blockchains and virtual currencies from the summer of 2018 and aim to establish a virtual currency exchange office within 2018.
Money Forward “is known as a pioneer in developing a digital kakeibo (household bookkeeping) app, where users can keep track of financial accounts for banking, credit card, e-wallet and point services,” the news outlet added, noting that “The company’s free app for the Android platform has won the best finance app award on Google Play for three consecutive years since 2013.”
Another announcement made on the same day is the plan to partner with 20 crypto exchanges in Japan and overseas to provide accounting solutions for crypto traders. Citing that it is already cooperating with Bitflyer, Coincheck, and Zaif crypto exchanges, the company says it is now in the process of collaborating with Btcbox, Bitbank, Quoine, and Fisco.
Drecom Co. Ltd. (TYO: 3793) engages in the development and marketing of entertainment content for mobile and PC. The company announced on Wednesday partial amendments to its Articles of Incorporation, adding a number of businesses it plans to start including crypto businesses. The amendments will be presented to shareholders at the next annual meeting.
The amendments state that the company plans to enter the “virtual currency exchange” business, particularly the “Planning, operation and management of exchanges relating to virtual currencies.” Furthermore, the company plans to offer cryptocurrency settlement services.
Yamane Medical Corporation
Yamane Medical Corporation (TYO: 2144) operates in the nursing and personal care sector. The company “operates a home care center for elderly people under the Nagoya Residence name in Japan. The company’s care center offers off-site, accommodation, housing services, etc., as well as safety confirmation and lifestyle consultation, on-site day, emergency response, and medical services,” Bloomberg describes.
Local media reported on Friday that the company is planning to submit partial amendments to its Articles of Incorporation to add a number of crypto-related businesses. According to Minkabu Press, “system provision and consultation related to virtual currency” will be added as well as a “virtual currency exchange business.”
Adways Inc (TYO: 2489) is a Tokyo-based global mobile app marketing company whose main business includes an ad agency, an ad network and a third party tracking tool.
On Thursday, the company announced the partial amendments to its Articles of Incorporation which will be presented at the next annual shareholder meeting. “The company shall make efforts to engage in the following businesses,” the amendments read. Under “virtual currency related business,” the company wrote, “virtual currency exchange business based on funds settlement law.”
This law went into effect in Japan in April last year which legalized cryptocurrencies as a means of payment in the country and requires all crypto exchanges to register with the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
Avex Inc (TYO: 7860) is an entertainment conglomerate and one of the largest music labels in Japan. The company was founded by Max Matsuura, Japanese talent manager, record producer, songwriter, and radio personality. Avex manages J-pop talents such as Ayumi Hamasaki and internet sensation Pikotaro. The company has also expanded into other business areas such as anime, video games, and live music events.
On Thursday, Avex published amendments to its Articles of Incorporation to add “virtual currency exchange” as a new business venture. The amendments will be presented at the company’s next meeting of shareholders.
Daiwa Securities Group
One of Japan’s largest securities brokerage firms, Daiwa Securities Group (TYO: 8601), also hinted at the possibility of entering the cryptocurrency space in the future. President and CEO Seiji Nakada told Sankei newspaper this week that, regarding cryptocurrency, “there is enough possibility of becoming a highly useful platform if conditions such as legal maintenance are in place.” While noting that the price movements of cryptocurrencies “are unstable and subject to speculation,” he emphasized:
There will be times when major companies have to enter to improve the environment.
Japan currently has 16 fully licensed crypto exchanges. Another eight exchanges‘ applications are being reviewed by the FSA. Furthermore, the agency revealed recently that about 100 more companies are interested in entering the space including Line Corp and Yahoo! Japan.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Money Forward, Daiwa, Drecom, Yaname, Adways, and Avex.