Kraken crypto exchange to shut down its Japan operations amid a weak global crypto market
Crypto exchange Kraken announced today it will shut down its operations in Japan in January next year as crypto winter takes a toll on the entire crypto industry.
The announcement comes just a month after the Kraken laid off 1,100 employees, about 30% of its total staff as the crypto exchange looks to cut costs amid a weak global crypto market.
This is the second time Kraken has left the Japanese market. The first was in 2018 when the 11-year-old crypto exchange closed four years after initially establishing operations in 2014. It relaunched in the country in 2020 after securing registration from the regulator.
Blaming the shutdown on “current market conditions in Japan and a weak crypto market globally,” Kraken said in a blog post on Wednesday that it would cease crypto trading services through its Japanese subsidiary, Payward Asia, and deregister from Japan’s Financial Services Agency on Jan. 31, 2023.
“Current market conditions in Japan in combination with a weak crypto market globally mean the resources needed to further grow our business in Japan aren’t justified at this time. As a result, Kraken will no longer service clients in Japan through Payward Asia.”
The crypto exchange said the move was “part of Kraken’s efforts to prioritize resources and investments in those areas that align with our strategy and will best position Kraken for long-term success.” Kraken also cited “current market conditions in Japan” as the reason behind its decision.
“We would like to inform you that after due consideration, Kraken has decided to cease its operations in Japan and deregister from the Financial Services Agency (JFSA) as of January 31, 2023. The decision is part of Kraken’s efforts to prioritize resources and investments in those areas that align with our strategy and will best position Kraken for long term success.”
Founded in 2011 by Jesse Powell, the San Francisco-based Kraken is the 5th-largest crypto exchange by volume, with a 24-hour volume of over half a billion dollars. It provides spot and futures trading between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and over 40 other digital assets.
Meanwhile, Powell recently announced that he would be leaving the role of CEO. Kraken made headlines back in March after Powell fired back at requests to freeze Russian crypto. “If we were going to voluntarily freeze financial accounts of residents of countries unjustly attacking and provoking violence around the world, step 1 would be to freeze all U.S. accounts,” Powell said. “As a practical matter, that’s not really a viable business option for us.”
Kraken also provides a marketplace for digital assets where buyers, sellers, traders, and speculators come together to exchange cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple against national currencies like USD, EUR, CAD, and JPY. The startup currently has over 7 million clients.