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Coinbase weighs Japan exit amid crypto headwinds

Written by Nikkei Asia Published on   2 mins read

U.S. exchange plans new sweeping cutbacks as effects of FTX bankruptcy spread.

Coinbase Global is considering a withdrawal from Japan as part of its response to the sharp decline in cryptocurrency trading following the collapse of FTX.

The U.S.-listed cryptocurrency exchange has operated in Japan since 2021 in partnership with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, which invested over CNY 1 billion yen (USD 7.74 million) into Coinbase back in 2016.

Coinbase is weighing several options regarding its Japanese unit, including selling the business or relinquishing its registration license.

Coinbase will cut around 950, or 20%, of its workers globally by the end of June, the company said Tuesday, in its third round of layoffs since last summer.

The global cryptocurrency market capitalization dropped nearly 20% after key exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy protection in November, according to price-tracking site CoinMarketCap. With regulatory costs also expected to rise, Coinbase is re-examining its Japan operation.

The crypto market “saw the fallout from unscrupulous actors in the industry, and there could still be further contagion,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a Tuesday blog post. Previously, the company announced plans in June 2022 to lay off 1,100 people, and later it let go of dozens, including several executives, in November.

The Payward group, the U.S.-based operator of the Kraken cryptocurrency exchange, ends Japanese operations at the end of the month. Payward is having affected customers transfer their remaining crypto assets into external digital wallets and redeposit yen currency into personal bank accounts. If Coinbase deregisters, the firm is expected to take similar actions.

This article first appeared on Nikkei Asia. It has been republished here as part of 36Kr’s ongoing partnership with Nikkei.


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