OFF INTO THE WILD WET YONDER How does this...
Kraken Hoping to Help Japan Erase Mt. Gox from Recent Memory
San Francisco’s Kraken, one of the most trusted Bitcoin exchanges in the world, will start operating in Japan by the end of October, becoming one of the latest, if not the biggest, cryptocurrency services to launch here since the collapse of Mt. Gox.
In February 2014, the Mt. Gox company suspended trading and closed its doors to its exchange, causing a shockwave to the industry and ultimately losing all of its client’s money. A slim portion of those funds were recovered at a later date, but most disappeared somewhere in cyberspace more than likely right in the hands of cyber-criminals.
Jesse Powell, chief executive officer of Kraken, assures that his exchange won’t repeat the mistakes of Mt. Gox. He explains that his platform has already been targeted by cyber-criminals and hackers, but ultimately it has never been breached.
Kraken is considerably new—opening its doors in September 2013, although one year is relatively experienced in the young and raw Bitcoin universe.
In its brief history, the company has already become one of the main exchanges for euro-denominated transactions. Moreover, it has been servicing Japanese clients via dollar and euro denominated overseas accounts since its inception, so it’s obviously not new to the realms of dealing with Japanese on a customer service level.
Japanese are charged high transaction fees on international wire transfers, so it only seemed prudent to launch Kraken in Japan with the cooperation from local banks.
Although Kraken is focused on the future, and not Mt. Gox’s ugly past, Mr. Powell said that some of Mt. Gox’s assets, like its database of clients, might be of some interest to the company. How much is unknown, but any amount might help to ease some of the burden left behind by the debacle.
It’s still too soon to tell if Japanese companies will embrace Bitcoin or not. Apparently negotiations with local banks took a lot longer than expected, Mr. Powell said. But this slow and methodical business style in Japan is certainly not out of the ordinary.
If anything, Powell’s Kraken should feel excited about the progress they’ve made so far in a country with a reputation of moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to change and dealing with anything “foreign” inside its borders.