TOKYO – Japan’s financial regulator temporarily suspended on Thursday two cryptocurrency exchanges and ordered another five, including Coincheck, to adopt security measures to ensure protection for their clients and prevent money laundering.
The Financial Services Agency ordered seven exchange houses to set up an adequate security system, adopt measures to prevent money laundering and improve the information management of its clients, among other measures, and submit a report on the matter on March 22.
The exchange houses FSHO and Bit Station have been stopped from doing business for a month, and the measure comes a month after the FSA found irregularities, including diversion of bitcoins by a senior member of Bit Station for his personal use, the agency said in a statement.
Other exchanges to be reprimanded were GMO Coin, Mr. Exchange, Bicrements and Zaif, managed by Tech Bureau.
Zaif suffered a glitch around the end of February that temporarily allowed bitcoins to be acquired for free and resulted in a user obtaining several trillions of yen worth of bitcoins that he later tried to sell, without major consequences.
The measure adopted on Thursday by the FSA follows inspections of 32 exchange houses in Japan after a massive theft at Coincheck, which was the biggest one in the sector so far.
The action by the Japanese authorities on the sector comes amid heavy declines in major cryptocurrencies, which analysts attribute to information on a recent alleged cyberattack on the Binance exchange house.
The price of Bitcoin was around 1,010,000 yen (around $9,524) on Coincheck at 1:00 pm local time (0400 GMT), after having recorded a fall of more than 10 percent compared to the previous day.