Yoshitaka Kitao, President of SBI Holdings, announced at a company meeting that the company’s cryptocurrency exchange will be launched this summer, according to Business Insider Japan.
SBI Holdings is a division of SBI Group, which is a giant financial firm based in Tokyo. It provides services such as insurance, asset management, loan services, foreign exchange trading and investment banking. Founded in 1999 under the name Softbank Investment Corporation, it now has a market capitalisation of 665 billion USD.
This is significant news because of the size of the firm. As Kitao put it: “When we do it, it will be number one in the blink of an eye. Even if a tremendous number of customers come, we [must] build a system that can bear [it]. We have to pursue safety thoroughly.”
SBI Holdings originally announced its intention to enter the cryptocurrency industry in October 2016 when it registered the brand name SBI Virtual Currencies. In addition to the exchange, it also mentioned an interest in getting into cryptocurrency mining, noting that the sector is vulnerable to attack because it is “unevenly distributed in China”.
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It launched its exchange, SBI Virtual Currencies, in beta mode on the 30th of January. The original intention of the company was to offer only XRP trading. Its partnership with Ripple dates back to January 2016, when it created SBI Ripple Asia.
However, Kitao now says that the exchange will offer Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and XRP. He said that Bitcoin is mainly achieved through mining because it is to slow and expensive to use as a settlement currency. He said: “I think that Bitcoin Cash can be [used] as a currency of settlement [and] Ripple can be treated as remittance currency, not anonymous currency.”
In a further development, SBI Holdings announced in a press release that it has partnered with a New York-based company called Templum, which offers a platform to conduct initial coin offerings in a regulated manner. In the context of the US, this means offering them as securities, which is why on its website it refers to ICO as “Tokenized Asset Offerings”.
The firm recently completed a 10 million USD funding round.