According to Bartek Ringwelski, COO of bitFlyer, a company that claims to own the world’s largest bitcoin exchange in terms of trading volume, the next few years are critical for the cryptocurrency industry as formal regulation will decide the future course for the coming decades.
‘Defining’ Moment for Crypto
In an interview with a renowned publication, Ringwelski expressed his views regarding the current regulatory scenario in the industry and also shared expansion plans of the exchange he leads.
Speaking about the opportunities to come in the near future, he said:
“In the virtual currency space, it’s such a greenfield opportunity that there will be a lot of things that don’t work, but there will also be a handful of things formed in the first few years that end up defining the entire industry for the next several decades.”
Ringwelski, a Wharton School graduate and an entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist has been at the helm of operations at bitFlyer since July 2017. When asked why he pivoted to the cryptocurrency industry from his life of traditional finance, he replied, “What was interesting to me about the cryptocurrency space is that it’s a both an intersection of finance and technology as well as a marketplace, and it’s also incredibly innovative. It’s rare to see something that comes along and defines its own category.”
After the Mt. Gox and Coincheck hacks resulted in huge losses of investor money, regulators in Japan asked cryptocurrency exchanges to step up their security measures. Despite these setbacks, Japan was the first country to not only regulate cryptocurrency exchanges but also issue operating licenses, albeit with stringent rules in place for new and existing cryptocurrency exchanges to continue running their operations.
bitFlyer Beefs up Cybersecurity Measures
Barterk added that bitFlyer had also stepped up its security without divulging any important details, presumably because that would be a valuable attack vector for most hackers. He assured, however, that the comapny’s ability to get licensure in the US means their security reviews are in-depth and exposure to their practices have made regulators ‘comfortable.’ bitFlyer became the first regulated exchange in Japan, the EU, and the US during January 2018.
He also went on to acknowledge that people are worried about their capital due to past instances of security breaches at crypto exchanges. He assured, “Security for us is always top-of-mind, especially given the nature of the industry that we’re in. What happened in a scenario like Coincheck is that people get worried, and I think it increases focus on security. I think that’s always a good thing for the industry.”
His views were also echoed by bitFlyer’s co-founder and CEO, Yuzo Kano. He said, “I spent around three years talking to regulators and lawmakers. Finally, we got a law in 2016,” as he further added that the United States SEC was concerned whether a token is a security or not, all while Japan was at the forefront to adopt virtual currency laws. Kanom also serves as the chairman of the Japan Blockchain Association, which played a key role in legalizing digital tokens in the country.
Notably, Japanese luxury car dealership L’Operiao announced March 27, 2018, that it would soon begin accepting bitcoin as a payment option. Customers will be allowed to transfer their cryptocurrency using their bitFlyer wallet. The payment option will first be exclusively available in three dealerships and then be launched in a phased manner across all other outlets.