Tokyo based SBI Holdings has launched Japan’s first cryptocurrency exchange backed by a bank. Named VCTRADE, the exchange will handle XRP(Ripple), BTC(Bitcoin), and BCH(Bitcoin Cash) according to the outline of service announced by the company. But at the beginning VCTRADE will handle Ripple after which they will roll out services for the other cryptocurrencies. The settlement currency is Yen and there will be no transaction fee as mentioned in the announcement.
Having completed the registration process as a virtual currency exchange operator in September 2017, the company started services for those who had made reservations. For the ordinary customers the services will start in July 2018.
SBI Holdings is the majority owner (60.0%) of SBI Ripple Asia Co., Ltd, a joint venture between Ripple and SBI Holdings. SBI Ripple Asia whose principle business is “Planning, Development, Sales, Maintenance, Operation, Import and Export of Blockchain and Distributed ledger technology based Fintech solutions and () consulting”
SBI has been working hard to introduce blockchain technology in to finance and other commercial activities. They aim to unite foreign exchange and local currency using Ripple in order to meet customer demands and for the ease of international transactions.
Ripple (XRP) gaining ground in Japan is not a surprise as the cryptocurrency has been busy there for quite a while now. In March it was reported that 61 Japanese banks, which own over 80% of the country’s banking assets, were planning to launch a consumer app named “MoneyTap” using Ripple blockchain technology. One main reason to introduce an online payment system is that in Japan, domestic financial transactions must take place between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. A system which supports transactions 24 hours a day will definitely have a massive demand, provided it would be trustworthy and risk free.
As Japan has some of the tightest regulations over cryptocurrency, a system backed by banks and financial giants is very much likely to win over those who are still in doubt.