Bitcoin's Price Wobbles as Japan Cracks Down On Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Koichiro Wada, president of Coincheck Inc., left, speaks while Yusuke Otsuka, chief operating officer, look on during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, March 8, 2018. Coincheck said it will start compensating users who had their cryptocurrency stolen beginning as soon as next week, as the Japanese exchange seeks to resume more of its operations. Kiyoshi Ota—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Japan suspended trading on two cryptocurrencies on Thursday, following a reported $530 million cyber heist at Coincheck, one of the country’s largest crypto platforms, in January.

The country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) have ordered Bitstation and FSHO to suspend business for at least a month, Reuters reports, after finding that Bitstation’s executive previously used customer funds for personal transactions, while FSHO allegedly failed to shore up customer protection. The FSA’s sanctions on Thursday also caused Bitcoin prices to briefly plunge. At time of publication, Bitcoin’s price was down about 7% over the last 24 hours.

In addition to Bistation and FSHO, the FSA has imposed “administrative penalties” on five other cyrptocurrency platforms, including Coincheck, ordering them to improve their risk management to prevent further cyber hacks.

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Following the announced FSA penalties, Coincheck CEO Koichiro Wada told reporters that the exchange’s systems “weren’t in keeping with the expansion of our business.” The company has until March 22 to inform the regulator on its plans for improvement. It will also have to repay digital investors $434 million (46 billion yen) following the January heist.

Last year Japan became the first country to regulate cryptocurrency exchanges.

Neither Bitstation or FSHO could be reached for comment by media outlets.


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