SBI’s chief executive Yoshitaka Kitao. Source: ripple.com
The Japanese financial giant SBI is set to merge its crypto exchanges, TaoTao and SBI VC Trade – a move that will create a new Asian heavyweight exchange that could challenge market leaders like bitFlyer.
SBI, traditionally, has focused on its banking and securities business arms. But in recent years, it has embraced crypto with almost unparalleled fervor. Its CEO is a Ripple board member and the company co-runs the SBI Ripple Asia payments project. The firm has also set up several international crypto mining projects under the SBI Crypto umbrella.
Domestically, however, it has eyed dominance in the retail crypto market. Although something of a latecomer to the exchange game, it launched its own trading platform in 2018, with Kitao stating prior to opening that SBI VC Trade would become the market leader “in the blink of an eye.”
That has not quite proved to be the case. But rather than sit back, the firm has moved forward. It initially invested in another rival, the Tokyo-based LastRoots. And last year it stepped up its bullish activity when it snapped up the TaoTao crypto exchange (formerly BitARG).
The move saw SBI pay an undisclosed amount for the company’s shares – which were owned by Yahoo Japan, a firm that was at the time 48% owned by the business giant SoftBank.
SoftBank has since merged Yahoo Japan with the chat app and crypto exchange operator Line, a firm that was founded by the South Korean internet titan Naver.
Some observers had expected Line’s Bitmax platform and TaoTao to merge, but this never materialized, and SBI instead made its move.
Now, reported IT Media, SBI will consolidate its exchanges under the SBI VC Trade banner, with the process slated to be complete by December 1. SBI added that the new-look platform would offer a range of extra services, such as over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives.
Meanwhile, the nation’s self-regulatory crypto business body, the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), has laid out its plans for the future.
Per Hedge Guide, the JCBA, which represents most major exchanges as well as crypto-related firms, said it wanted to prioritize protocols for the “domestic handling of stablecoins” as well as decentralized finance (DeFi). The body added that it hoped to work on “establishing guidelines for non-fungible token (NFT) sales and distribution, and improve “entry options for institutional investors.”
The body further pledged to bolster regulatory compliance and help promote “the social usefulness of cryptoassets,” with educational and promotional campaigns.
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