Beijing – (January 11, 2019) – New technologies like blockchain, AI, and big data have been transforming the financial industry around the world in recent years. To learn more about the development of those disruptive technologies around the world, we went to Silicon Valley and Singapore in the summer of 2018 and met with dozens of blockchain startups. Continuously, we were in Japan last month and visited more relevant participants in fintech ecosystem including regulators, industrial associations, cryptocurrency exchanges and fintech startups.
In collaboration with Nomura Research Institute (NRI) again this year, we co-organized 2018 Fintech Seminar in Tokyo on December 19, 2018. At the Seminar, we introduced the latest developments and regulations on fintech in China, and discussed the future development of fintech with attendees from regulatory authorities, prominent financial institutions, and large traditional institutions in Japan.
Besides, we met with the regulator Financial Services Agency (FSA), to learn their perspectives on the regulation of crypto and shared our research findings on financial regulation. In addition, we also met with several leading fintech and blockchain companies to learn their business models and the fintech landscape in Japan. Here are the highlights of our meetings with Omise, bitFlyer, Ginco, Neutrino, Moneytree and JCBA:
Omise: payment network based on Ethereum
Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Bangkok, Omise aims to provide point-to-point payment services based on Ethereum for customers.
In Tokyo, we had a great meeting with Hitoshi Kakizawa, the business development manager at Omise, to learn the business model, scale of users, profit model, future development and the challenge in compliance. He mentioned the maturity of Japanese financial market and the fierce competition among blockchain startups have been creating big challenges for the company in terms of development scale and acquiring potential users.
bitFlyer: the largest volume cryptocurrency exchange in Japan
Japan is the first country to legislate on virtual currency. Besides, the regulators have a positive attitude toward virtual currency exchange.
We had a great talk with Shogo Kobata, the business development leader of bitFlyer. BitFlyer is currently the only cryptocurrency exchange in Japan that owns an independent blockchain. Shogo told us that bitFlyer has set up its own private chain, Miyabi, which provides service for other enterprises. In the future, they would build a closed-loop blockchain ecosystem based on Miyabi.
Ginco: the biggest cryptocurrency digital wallet in Japan
Ginco was founded in 2017, their virtual currency digital wallet service officially online in 2018. Nowadays, Ginco has been providing the biggest virtual currency digital wallet in Japan.
We were delighted to meet with Muuto Morikawa, founder & CEO at Ginco. We learnt from Muuto that Ginco has been in collaboration with Changelly and Kyber Network, which we also met in Singapore in July. Muuto said that their profit mainly comes from the cooperation with other centralized exchanges, and those individual users are not charged any fees. Meanwhile, Muuto also told us that their cold wallet service would be online in this month.
Neutrino: blockchain community in Japan
Neutrino creates a community for blockchain developers based on Ethereum. Currently, Neutrino has attracted 31 blockchain startups members in Tokyo and has set up branch offices in Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing.
We were excited to meet with Mayato Hattori, the community manager at Neutrino. Mayato introduced the business model of Neutrino. He told us that the community organizes regular events such as developer seminars and gatherings.
Moneytree: the biggest financial data integration platform
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Tokyo, Moneytree focuses on providing asset management services for individuals.
We had a great meeting with Rui Suzuki, CFO at Moneytree. Moneytree has already attracted more than 3 million individual users and almost 50 corporate users. Rui also mentioned that Moneytree is very serious about data security and privacy.
JCBA: Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association
JCBA is a virtual currency industry autonomous association recognized by FSA. It aims to unite the participants to maintain the healthy and orderly development of the industry.
We were excited to meet with Taizen Okuyama, the Chairman of JCBA. JCBA currently has more than 130 member institutions, including cryptocurrency exchanges, startups, and financial institutions licensed by FSA. He told us that based on the requirement of FSA, industry participants need to ensure the transparency of all transactions and make complete rules to prevent unethical insider trading and price manipulation. He stressed that protecting investors and maintaining open and transparent market, development healthy and orderly are the top priorities of JCBA.