Crypto Trading Is Skyrocketing in Japan

Some 3.5 million Japanese were trading cryptocurrencies on 17 domestic exchanges as of the end of March, according to a new report from the country's financial watchdog. The research showed that 84% of the traders were between the ages of 20 and 40, supporting the notion that much of the country's crypto frenzy has been fueled by a jump in trading activity by millennial-aged investors. 

The inaugural report from Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), translated by Coindesk, revealed that in Japan, trading volume of bitcoin, the world's largest digital coin by market value, skyrocketed 340% in a three-year period, from $22 million in March 2014 to $97 billion in March 2017. Trading on margins, credit and futures of bitcoin as an underlying asset increased from a $2 million to a whopping $543 billion over the same respective periods. 

The price of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have taken a hit this year on investor fears rise regarding heightened regulatory oversight around the world on the high-flying decentralized market. At a price tag of $6,899.25 per coin on Wednesday at 6:29 p.m. UTC, bitcoin reflects a whopping 65% decline from all-time highs reached in December 2017 that just missed the $20,000 mark. The highly volatile asset has returned near 500% over the most recent 12 months, compared to the S&P 500's 12.7% rally over the same period. (See also: Bitcoin Will Become World’s ‘Single Currency’: Dorsey.)

An Epicenter of Digital Asset Trading

The crypto markets' record hot run caused a global mania, leading many who were once on the investing sidelines to get into trading, particularly Millennials around the world experiencing FOMO, or fear of missing out, and hoping to get in on the next big thing in tech before time ran out. 

The FSA data suggests that despite a crackdown by governments worldwide, Japan remains an epicenter of digital asset trading. In January, Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck suffered a hack that cost it 58 billion yen ($533 million) in digital currency, according to Coindesk. In 2014, Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once a leading platform for global bitcoin trades, was forced to file for bankruptcy after losing about 850,000 coins.  

Last month, bitcoin fell on news that Japan was planning to order Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanged by traded value, to stop operating in the country without a license. The exchange, founded in Hong Kong in 2017, later announced plans to open an office in Malta as the small island country hopes to become a hotspot for fintech innovation. (See also: Bitcoin: Prices Fall on Japan Crypto Crackdown.)

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