BitFlyer Exchange Toughens User Verification Amid Watchdog Scrutiny
BitFlyer, a major Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, announced Thursday that it will toughen its know-your-customer process after reported criticism from the country's financial regulator.
According to a company announcement, starting from April 26, users registering online will not be able to send cryptocurrency assets or withdraw Japanese yen until their identity and address have been confirmed with the receipt of a postal letter from the exchange. Similarly, paying for goods with bitcoin through bitFlyer will also be disabled until users have received a letter that confirms they have passed the firm's verification process.
The revised rule comes as a response to a report by Japanese media outlet Nikkei earlier on Thursday, which indicated that Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA) has raised concerns over what it considers a loosely enforced ID verification process on the bitFlyer platform.
The regulator said the cryptocurrency exchange has made it possible for users to start trading immediately after submitting a photocopy of their ID cards, while the platform has yet to fully confirm and verify users' information. As such, the financial watchdog is concerned that the platform could be used for money laundering activities.
Although it denies being careless in complying with know-your-customer rules, the exchange said it is cooperating with the FSA to strengthen its existing anti-money laundering measures. The move comes at a time when the Japanese regulator has been scrutinizing domestic cryptocurrency exchanges regarding their anti-money laundering and business registration compliance.
Just yesterday, the FSA issued an administrative penalty that ordered Japanese trading platform Blue Dream, which is still in the application process for business registration with the FSA, to suspend its operations until June 10. The FSA said the firm had violated customer protection measures by soliciting investors for its own token, "BD Coin," while not making it known to investors how the price of the token is determined.
The order came just days after the watchdog issued two other administrative penalties last Friday, similarly barring two exchanges from operation for two months.