Business

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase plans expansion with Japanese office, could partner with MUFG

Bloomberg

Coinbase Inc., one of the largest U.S. digital currency exchanges, is expanding into one of the world’s hottest cryptocurrency markets.

The San Francisco-based company, which operates in 32 countries, is opening an office in Japan as it seeks to further broaden its influence beyond the United States.

Nao Kitazawa, a former investment banker at Morgan Stanley, will be chief executive officer of the new branch.

“As in other markets, we plan to take a deliberate approach to our rollout in Japan, which means working hand in hand with the Japanese (Financial Services Agency) to ensure compliance with local laws at every stage,” Coinbase, which has served more than 20 million customers, said in a blog post Monday.

“As a regulated, compliant crypto company in the U.S., we will focus on building that same level trust with new customers in Japan,” it said.

The exchange operator, which will need a license to expand into Japan, is in active discussions with the FSA, Coinbase spokesman Elliott Suthers said.

If the company does secure a license, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. is a potential banking partner, a person familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

MUFG, an investor in Coinbase, partnered with the cryptocurrency firm in 2016 to support its international expansion efforts.