Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken is leaving Japan

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Kraken is pulling operations from one of the biggest markets for cryptocurrency trading.

The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange said Tuesday that it would withdraw services in Japan due to rising costs of maintaining its business there, but indicated it could return in the future. It added that the suspension of activity in Japan would only affect Japanese residents, not Japanese customers outside of the country.

“Suspending services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas,” Kraken said in a statement on Tuesday.

“After we have had a chance to better catch up to our rapid growth, we will consider the possibility of resuming service for Japan residents.”

Kraken is the 10th largest exchange by 24-hour trading volume, according to industry website CoinMarketCap, trailing behind Coinbase’s GDAX.

A cryptocurrency comparison website called CryptoCompare estimates bitcoin trades in Japan’s currency account for almost 60 percent of all trading volume. The country officially recognized bitcoin as legal tender last year, and has a registration process for cryptocurrency exchanges looking to operate in the country.

But regulators are slightly more cautious in the wake of a cryptocurrency heist that saw more than $500 million worth of digital tokens stolen from crypto exchange Coincheck in January. It is thought to be the biggest theft of cryptocurrencies, surpassing the $400 million in bitcoin lost by cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox in 2014.

Last month, Binance, the biggest exchange by volume, was warned by Japan’s Financial Services Agency against operating in the country without an exchange license.



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