INTERNATIONAL - Japan’s financial regulator ordered further improvements at embattled cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. and penalized six others, including one operated by the listed company GMO Internet Inc.
The Financial Services Agency told Coincheck to revise its management structure, improve anti-money laundering procedures and submit a report by March 22. Two exchanges — FSHO and bit station — were instructed to halt operations for a month, the FSA said at a briefing in Tokyo Thursday. The other exchanges facing penalties are GMO Internet’s GMO Coin, Tech Bureau Corp.’s Zaif, Bicrements and Mr. Exchange.
Bitcoin extended losses after the announcement. The FSA is seeking to shore up security after the $500 million Coincheck hack on Jan. 26 exposed flaws in new regulations allowing cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the country.
The FSA has come under fire for allowing 16 operators, including Coincheck, to operate while they await a decision on their applications under a revised licensing system introduced last year. It has approved applications for another 16, some of which like BitFlyer Inc. and Zaif are among the world’s largest trading venues for certain cryptocurrencies.
In response to the hack, the FSA demanded that other operators review security. It also raided Coincheck’s offices and said it will begin on-site inspections at other venues. The agency also forced Coincheck to submit a business improvement report by Feb. 13, which it did.
Bitcoin slipped to $9,725 early on Thursday in Tokyo, extending overnight losses, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. The largest cryptocurrency has slumped 15 percent during its three-day slide. Rival tokens also slipped, with Ripple, Ether and Litecoin declining at least 0.5 percent.