Japanese Regulator FSA Hears Arguments for not Calling Bitcoin a Virtual Currency

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Japanese finance regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA) no longer wishes to describe Bitcoin (BTC) as a virtual currency, Cointelegraph Japan reported on April 8, quoting minutes of a meeting originally held on March 4.

During a plenary session at the 41st General Assembly of the Financial Council and the 29th Financial Division Meeting, Professor Iwashita Goto of the Public Policy Graduate School of Kyoto University, petitioned members to adapt their view of Bitcoin.

The largest cryptocurrency, he argued, has become something beyond a means of transacting, due to its borderless qualities, which have led it to appear throughout the world in its ten-year history.

“I don’t think it would be worthwhile to call Bitcoin a virtual currency,” he summarized.

The comments come as Japan continues to formalize its domestic cryptocurrency industry. Set on creating encouraging regulation, the FSA has now begun issuing licenses to new cryptocurrency exchanges looking to serve the Japanese market.

The licensing scheme, which has a long waiting list, was in part a reaction to the events of the past two years, notably local exchange Coincheck’s half-billion-dollar hack in January 2018.

Other industry consumer products also continue to see a rollout in the country, such as plans for train travel payment using cryptocurrency. Last week, Japanese trading platform Liquid achieved unicorn status after it was valued at more than $1 billion.