Coinbase to suspend operations in Japan

Crypto exchange Coinbase announced that it is exiting the Japanese market, marking the latest phase of a significant pullback following the collapse of crypto markets last year.

According to the exchange, the suspension of operations in Japan has no impact on the firm’s other official branches worldwide. Coinbase’s Japanese customers are required to pull back their crypto and fiat funds by Feb. 16. 

The firm further added that it intends to conduct a comprehensive review of its national operations in response to the declining market conditions.

Coinbase attributes the closure to macroeconomic factors

In a blog post published on Jan. 18, Coinbase announced that the decision to suspend operations in Japan was difficult. However, the firm said it would comprehensively review its operations in Japan and cease all transactions with existing customers.

Customers who do not withdraw their cryptocurrency holdings by Feb. 16 will have to work with the Legal Affairs Bureau to recover their balance. The firm will convert all remaining crypto assets to Japanese yen (JPY).

According to Coinbase, the basis for ceasing operations in Japan is the severe macroeconomic factors and its plans to reduce operational costs in 2023. Coinbase Japan CEO Nao Kitazawa and VP Nana Murugesan stated:

“Due to changes in the market environment, we have made the difficult decision to completely review our current business in Japan and terminate transactions with existing customers.”

Coinbase statement on Japan

Aside from providing a deadline for withdrawals, it has also provided Japanese users with various options for withdrawing all their crypto assets from the exchange. The firm noted that users might withdraw their crypto holdings to Coinbase Wallet, other self-hosted wallets, or cryptocurrency exchanges.

Coinbase layoff’s amid a bear market

The exchange’s closure comes on the heels of its decision to lay off 20% of its global workforce, the latest layoffs at the San Francisco-based firm as it deals with a crypto asset slump. The layoffs also follow the company cutting roughly 25% of its US workforce. At the time, Coinbase noted that the releases were made to “weather downturns in the cryptocurrency market.”

Coinbase is exiting Japan at a time when the country is relaxing some crypto regulations, prompting the world’s largest crypto exchange, Binance, purchase a local player to re-enter the country.

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