SBI boss Yoshitaka Kitao. Source: ripple.com
Japanese financial giant SBI will merge its TaoTao and SBI VC Trade crypto exchanges – a move that will create a new Asian heavyweight exchange that could challenge market leaders like bitFlyer.
SBI has traditionally focused on its banking and securities business. But in the past few years, crypto has embraced it with almost unprecedented fervor. Its CEO is a Ripple board member and the company is co-directing the SBI Ripple Asia payments project. The company has also built several international crypto mining projects under the umbrella of SBI Crypto.
Domestically, however, it has its eye on dominance in the retail crypto market. Despite being a laggard in the stock market game, it launched its own trading platform in 2018, with Kitao declaring prior to opening that SBI VC Trade would become the market leader “in no time”.
That hasn’t quite turned out to be. But instead of sitting back, the company has moved forward. It initially invested in another competitor, the Tokyo-based LastRoots. And last year it stepped up its bullish activity when it added the TaoTao (formerly BitARG) crypto exchange.
In that move, SBI paid an undisclosed amount for the company’s stock – owned by Yahoo Japan, a company that at the time was 48% owned by corporate giant SoftBank.
SoftBank has now merged Yahoo Japan with the chat app and the crypto exchange operator Line, a company founded by the South Korean internet titan Naver.
Some watchers expected the Line and TaoTao Bitmax platform to merge, but that never materialized and SBI took its step instead.
Now, IT Media reported, SBI will be consolidating its exchanges under the banner of SBI VC Trade, with the process expected to be completed by December 1st – Counter (OTC) derivatives.
Meanwhile, the Japanese cryptocurrency business association Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA) has set out its plans for the future.
According to Hedge Guide, the JCBA, which represents most major exchanges and crypto-related companies, said it wanted to prioritize protocols for “domestic handling of stablecoins” and for decentralized finance (DeFi). The panel added that it hopes to work on “creating guidelines for the sale and distribution of non-fungible tokens (NFT)” and improving “entry options for institutional investors”.
The committee also promised to strengthen compliance with legal requirements and to contribute to promoting the “social benefits of crypto assets” with educational and advertising campaigns.
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