Japan isn’t just part of the cryptocurrency revolution, it’s arguably leading the charge. Bitcoin payments, Bitcoin trading, Bitcoin ATMs, and so much more have arguably made Japan the Bitcoin capital of the world. Showing that its position in the crypto marketplace is well-earned, Japan is now tackling crypto money laundering fears head-on. According to new data from Nikkei Asian Review, the amount of reported money laundering incidents involving cryptocurrency in Japan stands at a fraction of the standard currency total for 2017.
Curbing crypto-related crime
Money laundering fears have swirled around Bitcoin for what feels like years. Not shying away from the issue, Japan has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any untoward crypto activity. Nikkei – using statistics direct from Japan’s National Police Agency – has revealed that between April and December last year suspicious activity tumbled. Cryptocurrency exchanges reported just 669 instances of supposed suspicious activity related to money laundering. This statistic shows Japan’s approach to cryptocurrency related crime is working.
Comparing the 669 instances of suspicious money laundering related crypto activity to that of standard currency, the figure is tiny. During 2017 the police dealt with a staggering 347,000 cases of money laundering from banks, 13,300 from credit unions, and 15,400 from credit card companies. Standing at 400,000 reports in total, the number of money laundering incidents related to standard currencies dwarfs that of the crypto market.
“Impartial” inspections to increase
The reason behind Japan’s continued success in crushing cryptocurrency money laundering is how it’s pushed forward with increased regulations. Last year, new legislation effectively forced exchange operators to adhere to strict anti-money laundering practices and answer calls for increased levels of transparency. By becoming a much more open and accessible market, Japan has been able to stop money laundering at the source. Of all 669 reported incidents, Nikkei notes that many of these were “questionable transactions repeated frequently in a short span of time.”
Japan might have had a rough start to the year when it comes to its cryptocurrency performance. Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck fell victim to a $530 million hack back in January, which did slightly dampen the crypto-trading frenzy that carried over from 2017. Following the hack, obligations for exchanges have tightened considerably. Taro Aso (Japan’s Finance Minister) has also confirmed that “impartial” inspections by regulators will take place across exchanges to ensure that all regulations are being upheld.
Cryptocurrency continues to make an impact!
As you’ve probably already gathered from our prior blog – Big in Japan: How Bitcoin Made a Splash in the Far East – Japan is the true cryptocurrency power player in Asia. The country is now stepping up to curb any lingering cryptocurrency money laundering fears. It’s fair to say that Japan as a crypto hotbed is set to go from strength to strength in 2018.