bitFlyer USA, a subsidiary of leading Japanese Bitcoin exchange bitFlyer, has officially launched its operations in the United States, just a few months after it was awarded a coveted license to deal in cryptocurrencies in New York. bitFlyer’s new office is based in the financial district of San Francisco.
bitFlyer USA was granted a so-called BitLicense by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), becoming only the fourth such firm to win approval to operate in the state. It now legally operates as a money transmitter and digital currency exchange, according to a company statement published Tuesday.
bitFlyer is already the dominant virtual currency exchange in Japan. According to its statement, it has facilitated billions in Bitcoin trades since being founded three years ago, $100 billion of which came in 2017 year-to-date. The exchange was founded in 2014 by former Goldman Sachs trader Yuzo Kano in a bid to fill the vacuum left in Japan by the collapse of MtGox.
bitFlyer is pushing towards a more global approach specific to Bitcoin and other digital currencies. This move is part of an effort to expand outside of Japan. Part of this growing interest can be attributed to the supportive approach of Japanese officials towards Bitcoin.
New York is the only state that requires firms dealing in the digital assets to obtain a license to operate. The Empire State has established strong state-based regulation, but the approach has been widely maligned by the crypto community for being one of the strictest laws governing this type of business.
At launch, the exchange will only offer BTC/USD trading but plans to add support for other cryptocurrency trading pairs and products, including Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Bitcoin Cash, as early as next year.
The news follows other, similar stories of progress for Bitcoin companies in the US. Although cryptocurrency regulation still happens largely on a state-by-state basis, the commodities regulator (CFTC) recently granted Ledgerx the status of a Swap Execution Facility (SEF).
Commenting on the news, bitFlyer USA COO Bartek Ringwelski said: “Our expansion and upcoming cross-border trading addresses a huge unmet need in the US by institutional traders looking to access large amounts of liquidity across multiple virtual currency markets,” said. “Through our web interface or API, approved professional traders can be up and running and making trades in a matter of minutes.”
bitFlyer CEO Yuzo Kano added: “bitFlyer is proud to have been granted a BitLicense to do business in the state of New York. This is a nod of approval from one of the most influential state financial services regulators in the nation.”