BitFlyer: World's largest bitcoin exchange gets approval for European launch

Company handles quarter of the globe’s bitcoin exchange volumes

Ben Woods
Tuesday 23 January 2018 10:59
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What is Bitcoin and why is its price so high?

BitFlyer, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, has been given the green light for a European launch.

The Tokyo-based firm has been awarded a payment institution (PI) licence for the European Union, building on its regulatory approval in the US and Japan.

BitFlyer handles about a quarter of the globe’s bitcoin exchange volumes, with more than $250bn (£180bn) worth of bitcoin being traded on its platform last year.

Despite the hysteria surrounding the virtual currency, bitcoin has endured a choppy ride since the end of 2017.

It has fallen from December highs of nearly $20,000 to $10,624.42 on 22 January, according to CoinDesk data.

Yuzo Kano, founder and chief executive of bitFlyer, said: “When I set up bitFlyer in 2014, I did so with global ambitions and the belief that approved regulatory status is fundamental to the long-term future of bitcoin and the virtual currency industry.

“I am proud that we are now the most compliant virtual currency exchange in the world; this coveted regulatory status gives our customers, our company and the virtual currency industry as a whole a very positive future outlook.”

BitFlyer is the only exchange licensed in Europe, and can give traders access to the globe’s biggest bitcoin trading market in Japan.

It is estimated that around €10bn (£8.8bn) of bitcoin is traded worldwide per month, making the euro the third largest bitcoin market after the Japanese yen and the US dollar.

The exchange received its European PI licence from Luxembourg regulator Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier.

CEO Financial Conduct Authority: 'If you want to invest in bitcoin be prepared to lose all your money'

Germany’s Bundesbank has called for global regulation of bitcoin, while France’s finance minister wants tougher rules for cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, US billionaire Warren Buffett has also ruled out a foray into cryptocurrencies, warning that the bitcoin boom will “come to a bad ending”.

The chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway has joined the chorus of voices criticising the digital currency, which endured a rollercoaster ride at the tail end of 2017.

However, JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon said he now regrets calling bitcoin a “fraud”.

PA

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