Japanese online financial conglomerate SBI Holdings announced that it had acquired TaoTao Crypto Exchange, making it the second exchange to come under SBI’s banner. The forex arm of the fintech group, SBI Liquidity Market, purchased a 100% stake in TaoTao, which was launched in May 2019.
TaoTao Crypto Exchange has received all necessary permissions from Japan’s financial watchdog, Financial Services Agency (FSA), and provides trading services for popular cryptocurrencies. The exchange was in talks with Binance about setting up a partnership in Japan. However, after nine months of rigorous deliberation, TaoTao opted out of the negotiation in October, one day before SBI’s acquisition. As a result, Binance’s entry into Japan seems impossible in 2020.
With their decision to take over TaoTao, SBI now owns two crypto exchanges. SBI Holdings had already been operating the SBI VC Trade, a venture capital firm with a focus on cryptocurrency trading, when they acquired TaoTao. With two crypto exchanges in tow, SBI stands to amass greater strength over the crypto trading market.
“In the future, we will make maximum use of the management resources such as expertise and knowledge of the SBI Group as a comprehensive financial group, and the customer base and service expertise of the crypto assets that TaoTao has cultivated so far, and the latest, safe and secure crypto assets,” said SBI’s press release.
Regulation over Crypto Exchanges
History has shown that crypto exchanges, while promising security of crypto assets, have been hacked and looted frequently. One such incident shocked the Japanese crypto market in 2018, when an attack on Coincheck, the largest crypto trading company in the country, resulted in the theft of more than $500m worth of digital currencies.
To prevent such encounters from happening, the Japanese FSA has deemed it compulsory for crypto exchanges to hold a trading license. The Japanese government also approved new regulation in March 2019, which put crypto trading at par with forex trading.