Yahoo! Japan entering the cryptocurrency space

Yahoo! Japan entering the cryptocurrency space

April 17th, 2018

This is a tale of  the two Yahoo!, the USA version that can’t find a path to success and stumbles along, and Japans version of Yahoo! that is a powerhouse and forward thinking.

Yahoo! Japan Corporation announced that it is entering the cryptocurrency space. The company expects to launch an “easy-to-use exchange” (or re-launch and redesign of Bitarg Exchange) for cryptocurrencies in the fall of 2018.

Founded in January 1996 as a joint venture between Yahoo! and Japanese multinational conglomerate Softbank, Yahoo! Japan continues to dominate the Japanese internet industry while Yahoo! In the US has been declining in popularity since the late 2000s and continues to be an also run.

Through its wholly owned subsidiary Z Corporation, Yahoo! Japan confirmed the purchase of a 40 percent stake in a crypto exchange called Bitarg Exchange Tokyo Co. Ltd. A person familiar with the matter said that the deal is likely to “total 2 billion to 3 billion yen ($18.6 million to $27.9 million),” Reuters reported. The remaining 60% is still owned by CMD Lab, the parent company of Bitarg.

Last month, Bitarg denied reports of Yahoo! Japan’s investment in the company, stating that many possibilities were being explored. However, Bitarg posted a notice on its website stating:

Today, the company decided to accept capital participation from Z Corporation…the company will be able to utilize the service operation and security expertise of the Yahoo Japan Group, which will make it easier for customers, [in order] to prepare for the start of the exchange service managed by the company and to improve the operation after the commencement.

Bitarg was established in May of last year. However, the exchange temporarily suspended its service in August 2017, according to Business Insider Japan. The company received a license from the Financial Services Agency (FSA) to trade bitcoin (BTC) in December of last year. According to the news outlet, the exchange service has not resumed as of April 16th.

The cryptocurrency industry in Japan has been making M&A headlines this month. Online brokerage firm Monex Group Inc. has announced it would buy Coincheck for $33.5 million. Monex shares surged 20% on the news, signaling support for the firm’s shift. The two companies have already charted the plan out to regulators and major investors. The deal provides Coincheck with a lifeline to re-establish itself after the NEM hack. Monex will be able to enter the booming cryptocurrency space and gain access to Coincheck’s current customers.