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Japan finance regulator raids cryptocurrency exchanges in money laundering sweep

The FSA reportedly inspected Huobi and Fisco last week

Japan‘s top financial regulator has raided two cryptocurrency exchanges to enforce anti-money laundering rules, Reuters reports.

Financial Services Agency (FSA) agents inspected digital asset firms Huobi Japan and Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange to make sure appropriate customer protections were in place.

Both firms reportedly had recently undergone management restructures.

In October last year, Fisco revealed it was to acquire embattled cryptocurrency exchange Zaif for $44.5 million, just one month after hackers stole $62.5 million worth of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Monacoin from the platform.

Zaif has since reportedly paid back all affected users, and officially relaunched under its new management yesterday.

While Huobi maintains multiple cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, it only recently entered Japan through its acquisition of BitTrade last September.

At the time, Huobi planned to “aggressively scale up the platform” whilst remaining compliant with strict government rules for cryptocurrency.

This round of inspections comes despite the FSA already handing Japan‘s Virtual Currency Exchange Association self-regulatory status, which was supposed to allow the industry to keep tabs on itself.

Still, Japanese digital asset exchange Coincheck holds the record for the largest recorded theft in blockchain history, with over $516 million dollars in cryptocurrency NEM stolen in 2017.

Things are looking up for the nation’s cybercrime force, though. It recently nabbed its first cryptocurrency criminal: the 18-year-old Monacoin thief who stole $134,000 worth of cryptocurrency by exploiting bugs in social media platform Monappy.

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Published April 23, 2019 — 14:28 UTC