Online brokerage Monex Group Inc.,
owner of the hacked Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, is considering adding crypto to its retail client offerings in a bid to become more competitive in the local brokerage market. The news was reported by Bloomberg on April 15. As previously reported, Monex acquired Coincheck in April 2018 in the wake of the exchange’s industry record breaking $532 million hack in January of that year.
According to Bloomberg, Monex now sees its Coincheck involvement as potentially instrumental in restoring its erstwhile market dominance. Founded in 1999, Monex was reportedly once the country’s most popular online brokerage, but has since reportedly been eclipsed by rivals such as Rakuten, SBI Holdings and Mastui. Monex’s brokerage unit is thus mulling the addition of digital currencies to its offerings for retail clients in collaboration with Coincheck. Monex Securities Inc.’s new president, Yuko Seimei, conceded that a new strategy is critical to
reviving the firm:
“We’ve fallen a little behind — we can’t deny that. If we keep doing things the way we have, we may not be able to close the gap.”
Amid increasing competition in the brokerage market, Japanese investors’ enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies could help the organization reclaim clients, Bloomberg notes. The Japanese yen currently accounts for ~46.5% of national fiat currencies traded for bitcoin (BTC), according to crypto statistics site Coinhills. As reported, under the stewardship of Monex, Coincheck took a series of measures to improve its protection and trading systems, as well as reimbursing those customers affected by the hack. In mid-November 2018, Coincheck resumed crypto trading and was granted an operating license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency in December 2018. Monex Group’s financial report on Q3 for the 2019 fiscal year revealed that Coincheck had halved its losses in Q3, as compared with the preceding quarter.
This March, Monex announced major changes to its management composition, appointing three Coincheck executive directors to Monex roles to enhance cooperation between the two firms. This week, Money Forward Inc., the operator of one of Japan's most popular personal budgeting apps, announced a decision to halt its plans to launch a crypto asset exchange, citing profitability concerns amid the bear market. Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has meanwhile just opened registration for users of its crypto exchange Rakuten Wallet, which is set to go live in June.
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