World’s First Bank-Backed Cryptocurrency Exchange
The world’s first bank-backed cryptocurrency exchange is now open to the public after months of delays.
Japanese financial giant SBI Holdings formally launched its in-house crypto trading platform, dubbed VCTRADE, last month. Yet, as reported by CoinDesk at the time, the trading service was only available for a group of selected users who pre-registered with the platform last October.
In an announcement released, SBI Holdings said the service is now fully open for users aged from 20–70 who reside in Japan. However, a registration service for corporate customers has not yet been made available.
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At its June launch, VCTRADE announced it will initially support trading of Japanese yen against XRP, the native token of the Ripple protocol – a move that aligns with the institution’s wider support for XRP in cross-border blockchain settlement.
The announcement reads:
“Thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to offer you this service that aims to reach a wide number of customers. We are now accepting applications to open new accounts for our virtual currency exchange service (VCTRADE) starting today.”
Subsequently, the platform added yen-based trading pairs for bitcoin cash and bitcoin on June 8 and 15, respectively.
Today’s public launch comes nearly two years after SBI Holdings first announced it would build the exchange in October 2016, with the platform receiving an operating license from Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency, late last year.
Its debut was delayed for months, however, as the firm worked to raise levels of internal security following a massive $533 million hack at the country’s Coincheck exchange in January.
Part of the delay in the launch is due to concerns over security and regulation as well as SBI Holdings’ partnership with South Korean digital currency exchange Huobi. VCTRADE has chosen Secom Trust Systems, Co. to provide security to its platform.
One thing that many people have been wondering about is why is the exchange only supporting XRP? The answer might lie in the Yoshitaka Kitao’s interview with Ripple from August of last year. Back then, he stated that XRP is cheaper, faster, and infinitely more scalable than pretty much any other crypto. He also admitted that the SBI has invested in Ripple back in 2016, as well as helped launch a joint venture called SBI Ripple Asia. Obviously, XRP has been a favorite of Yoshitaka Kitao, as well as of SBI in general, so it is no surprise that it became the exchange’s crypto of choice.