Top global exchange Binance has entered Japan with Sakura acquisition, Gemini got the nod from Greek authorities, and Italy greenlighted both Gemini and Nexo.
With the announcements that crypto exchanges Binance will enter Japan, Gemini getting permission to operate in Italy and Greece, and Nexo in Italy, it seems that neither the deepening crypto winter nor the spectacular collapse into bankruptcy of FTX has stopped regulators around the world from opening their doors to other firms.
Sam Bankman-Fried's FTX exchange's "Lehman Brothers moment" has caused plenty of elected officials and regulators to be more suspicious of the crypto business and call for more and tougher regulation.
In the EU, for example, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has called for speeding the implementation of its Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation and reiterated the need for a broader and more comprehensive MiCA II.
In the U.S., legislators from both sides of the political spectrum are calling for faster and tougher crypto regulatory action.
Meanwhile, the U.K. government has said its plans to become a global cryptoasset hub have not been affected by the chaos at FTX — but that being said, British politicians are planning to focus more on stablecoins than private cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Back to Japan
Binance — the world's biggest crypto exchange — revealed that it has acquired 100% of the Sakura BitCoin Exchange (SEBC), which is registered with the Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA).
The regulated exchange will give Binance back access to the East Asian market after Japan's Financial Services Agency (JFSA) warned it against doing unregistered business there in 2018 and more recently in June 2021.
Binance is "committed to enter Japan under regulatory compliance," CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao said in a tweet. Last August, he announced that the company was "pivoting from reactive compliance to proactive compliance […] to help establish crypto compliance best practices worldwide."
The Japanese license is part of a broader push into Asia, Binance has said.
Takeshi Chino, general manager of Binance Japan, said:
"The Japanese market will play a key role in the future of cryptocurrency adoption. As one of the world's leading economies with a highly-developed tech ecosystem, it's already poised for strong blockchain uptake... We are eager to help Japan take a leading role in crypto."
Gemini Adds Greece and Italy
Meanwhile, the New York-based Gemini exchange has secured regulatory approval to operate in both Italy and Greece, said Gillian Lynch, its head of Ireland and the EU.
Calling the two licenses another step in its expansion across Europe, Lynch said:
"Strong regulatory compliance has always been a core tenet of Gemini's ethos; we believe that the long-term success and integrity of crypto markets and companies in the space depends on it. As we expand across Europe, we continue to work in tandem with national and international regulators and policymakers to ensure that we are meeting the necessary regulatory requirements in all new markets."
Gemini is now operational in more than 65 countries, including 14 in Europe: Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Sweden.
Nexo's Italian Access
Italian regulator Organismo Agenti e Mediatori (OAM) has also granted a Virtual Currency Operator license to crypto lender and exchange Nexo, which said it will allow its licensing to be "passported" across the EU when its MiCA regulations come into effect.
Antoni Trenchev, co-founder and managing partner of Nexo, said:
"Over the years, Nexo has maintained excellent standing with regulators across the globe through our continuous license acquisition effort. This registration in Italy is part of our master plan to strengthen our presence in the country and improve the robustness of our compliance across Europe."