While September began with a series of announcements coming out of mainland China that hurt Bitcoin’s price, the month ended with support from Japan. On September 29, Japan’s Financial Services Agency approved 11 companies as operators of cryptocurrency exchanges. The registration of exchanges will build greater confidence with the prioritization of issues such as protection of consumer assets, security breaches and money laundering.

Bitcoin responded by moving close to $4500 levels, back to where it was around the beginning of September. During the month, it dropped below the $3,000 mark  before eventually recovering to $4,000 levels. With Bitcoin (BTC) rising to $4,400 levels, Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC) are all witnessing an uptrend, pulling up the overall cryptocurrency market capitalization to $150 billion, according to coinmarketcap.

Earlier this year, Japan recognized Bitcoin as a legal method of payment –  it continues to be treated as an asset and not as a currency – and set the ball rolling with amendments to the Payment Services Act. The process of registration of virtual currency exchanges was started on April 1. All exchanges operating in the space must be registered with the FSA to conduct the exchange of virtual currency in Japan.

Japan has emerged as a key supporter of cryptocurrencies in recent times. The country accounted for 46-47% of Bitcoin trading volume by currency in the past few weeks. The news about FSA registrations has pushed up trading volume in JPY to 54%, according to cryptocompare. Meanwhile, the crackdown by regulators in China has shrunk the participation of Chinese yuan to 2.9%.

FSA is reviewing applications for registration from 17 other companies. One of the registered companies, bitFlyer has more than 800,000 users and its CEO, Yuzo Kano believes that, “The new rules cements Japan's position as the epicenter for bitcoin.” Meanwhile, Mike Kayamori, CEO and co-founder of QUOINE said, “As the first global crypto fintech company to be fully licensed with the JFSA, we will keep on working hand in hand with regulators and other stakeholders towards the healthy development of the cryptocurrency industry within Japan and on a global scale.” 



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