Rakuten and bitcoin

But Hiroshi Mikitani, a prominent Japanese e-commerce billionaire and CEO of Rakuten Inc, expressed caution about trying to regulate the virtual currency. “They should not act hastily,” he said, according to Kyodo News. “As for whether we need regulations, they should first examine the situation a bit more and discuss it in depth.”


Following the collapse of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, Japanese regulators are laying down the law — and considering treating the digital currency in the same manner as gold.

According to Reuters, the Asian country will set out Bitcoin-based regulations this week. On Friday, regulations will thrash out how to integrate the digital currency within existing laws — although banks and securities firms will not be permitted to treat Bitcoin in the same manner as standard currency.

The rising popularity of the digital currency is a lucrative prospect for cybercriminals who have long targeted such trading posts. On Tuesday, Bitcoin “bank” Flexcoin closed its doors, posting a notice on the firm’s website which said hackers stole 896 Bitcoin — worth approximately $606,000 — from the firm’s hot wallet. As Flexcoin “does not have the resources, assets, or otherwise to come back from this loss,” it has been forced to close.

In China this week, BTC China announced the introduction of Litecoin trading to the company’s platform thanks to “popular request.” To reassure users amidst the Mt. Gox fiasco, the Bitcoin exchange said it is “committed to providing a safe and secure platform.”


Japan may tax bitcoin deals, stop banks, brokerages from handling

By Noriyuki Hirata and Takaya Yamaguchi

TOKYO Wed Mar 5, 2014 4:24am EST

The cabinet will decide on Friday how to treat bitcoins under existing laws, said people familiar with the matter, adding that banks and securities firms will not be able to handle bitcoin as part of their main business, suggesting the crypto-currency will be treated more as a commodity, like gold.

The FSA and the Finance Ministry have said bitcoin is not a currency and doesn’t fall under their purview, while the Bank of Japan has said it was studying the bitcoin phenomenon with interest. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the relevant Japanese ministries will be in close contact with each other on matters relating to bitcoin.

Mizuho and Mtgox




In the months before Mt. Gox’s collapse, the bitcoin exchange was coming under increasing pressure from one of its banks, which complained about unmanageable volume of money transfers and repeatedly asked the exchange to close its account with the bank, people familiar with the situation say.

Mizuho Bank, which handled international wire transfers and other Mt. Gox business at a branch in Tokyo’s Shibuya district, had become worried about Mt. Gox as early as mid-2013, following reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had seized money from a Mt. Gox account at a U.S. bank, these people say.

Japan’s Financial Services Agency was investigating Mizuho for loans that its Orient Corp. consumer-credit affiliate had allegedly made to members of crime groups.

Tang Shunning, a Mt. Gox investor living in Japan, said his requests to withdraw yen from his Mt. Gox bitcoin account took only two days to complete in December, while in early January, two transactions of about 100,000 yen (around $1,000) each took about a week to clear.

Mr. Tang said he withdrew around ¥6 million in late January, three weeks after he made the request.

According to what he said was a screenshot of his bank transactions, his last withdrawal from Mt. Gox was on Feb. 12, after Mt. Gox had halted bitcoin withdrawals but was still working through its pile of cash-withdrawal requests. Four weeks after he made the withdrawal request, Mr. Tang was able to withdraw ¥8.8 million.


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