Japan’s crypto exchange bitFlyer will be sold to an Asian investment company

Japan’s crypto exchange bitFlyer will be sold to an Asian investment company

Singapore’s ACA Group will buy a majority stake in a company worth up to $370m.

TOKYO — ACA Group, a Singapore-based Japanese private capital fund, will acquire the operator of Japan’s largest crypto trading platform.

The fund agreed to purchase a majority stake with bitFlyer Holdings shareholders.

It is expected to be worth up to 45 billion Japanese yen ($370m).

After increasing its corporate value, ACA will likely sell bitFlyer.

BitFlyer, a Tokyo-based company, “nothing has yet been decided.” As of March 2021, the company’s assets had grown to 573.2 billion Japanese yen since its inception in 2014.

The digital assets boom began after 2017 saw Japan legalize cryptocurrency. Large profits were made by operators. 

In January 2018, Coincheck, a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange, was hacked and brought under the control Monex Group.

Monex Group is a large internet-based securities firm. 

A number of crypto exchange operators have been forced to exit the business by rising legal compliance costs, as well as other factors such tighter regulations. 

This trend is expected to continue.

Japan's crypto exchange bitFlyer

Japan’s crypto exchange bitFlyer

Coincheck boasts 1.53 million verified accounts, while bitFlyer has about the same amount.

The sale negotiations were led by a group of bitFlyer Holdings shareholders including venture capitalists. 

The Tokyo Stock Exchange doesn’t accept initial public offerings (IPOs) for cryptocurrency exchanges. 

To quickly recoup their investment, they decided to sell shares to an investor fund because an overseas listing would be time-consuming.

BitFlyer CEO and founder Yuzo Kano owns a 40% stake. He has been trying to negotiate a sale of his company on his own. 

Talks with Huobi Group (which operates crypto exchanges across Asia) and Mercari (Japan’s version of eBay) to sell the company have not been successful. 

Kano has demanded that the exchange’s value be kept at less than 100 billion yen.

With the support of Minefumi Komiyama (bitFlyer’s cofounder), who holds about 13% of the company, the coalition of shareholders negotiated the sale of ACA to ACA on its own. 

Sekisui House with a 13% stake is expected to also participate.

This indicates that just over half of the company’s total stake will be sold. Kano could still be included in the sale.


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