The Mt Gox fiasco is still very much in the news as creditors argue with the court appointed liquidator and offers are made for the assets of the bankrupt exchange. When the news of the huge losses was released to the general public it had a serious negative effect on the price of Bitcoin which it is just now beginning to recover from. The losses also gave Bitcoin a very bad name among the general public and government warnings of dangers aggravate the problem. Ex Goldman Sachs executive Yuzo Kano thinks that there is a great deal that can done to rebuild Bitcoin’s reputation while at the same time making it more accessible.
Mr. Kano left Goldman Sachs for a rival bank before moving into virtual currencies when he opened Japan’s first Bitcoin exchange since Mt. Gox closed its doors. Kano entered the fray when Bitcoin was selling at $1, 151 only to see the price drop to less than half of that after the losses in the Tokyo exchange.
“That’s one less competitor for us, but it also left many Japanese with a very negative impression of Bitcoin. We already had a company then and felt it was up to us to rebuild the trust”
Until Kano opened his exchange Bitcoin was difficult to obtain in Japan. There is only one Bitcoin machine on the island and other than person-to-person transfers there was no local venue for buying Bitcoin. Mr. Kano’s exchange is however a bit different than other exchanges. If you have a checking account set up with any Japanese bank you can both buy and sell bitcoins at Kano’s exchange. He believes that extensive trading options are scary to newbies and has designed a simple buy-sell interface for his exchange which is just enough for people who are only looking to fill their wallets for purchases.
Bitcoin might be a hard sell to the Japanese people however according to Kano. While Mt. Gox mainly dealt with foreigners, the news of its downfall was a big story in Japan. The Liberal Democratic Party has not tried to interfere with virtual currencies in any significant way but it is possible that the government sees it as a way to possibly lure venture capitalists to the island nation. Mr. Kano has so far been able to raise ¥160m ($1.6m) from one venture capital company according to his website, bitFlyer.
- bitFlyer's Homepage (not yet translated)
Kano promises to be expanding to overseas clients in the near future and is currently searching for overseas venture capital. He is extremely worried that another failure similar to Mt. Gox’s will spell disaster for Bitcoin and firmly advocates monitoring of such companies, at least, to prevent such losses in the future. The company is setting its security standards and identification guidelines according to the Japan Authority of Digital Assets which combines bitFlyer, CoinPass and Kraken, a Japanese exchange that is based in San Francisco.
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