by Nuno Menezes
Japan’s bitcoin lord Yuzo Kano wants to start the most significant global crypto empire ever. According to Bloomberg, he is trying to gather all the major talents he can get to achieve this.
Yuzo Kano is a former Goldman Sachs alumnus, which was able to turn bitFlyer Inc. into Japan’s largest bitcoin exchange in just four years, now has ambitious plans to build the biggest global cryptocurrency conglomerate the world has ever seen. For that, he is scooping up for traders and bankers, and he is trying to get them right from his old boss and its rivals.
“My target is to be number one in the world. To get there, I need to grow headcount. And those with the best skills come from global banks.”
bitFlyer Inc. is the largest cryptocurrency exchange in Japan and Kano is also the exchange’s co-founder. Thanks to him, the exchange is already the world’s fourth-largest crypto venue by turnover, after BitMex, Binance, and OKEx, according to Bloomberg.
Kano has been taking advantage of recent Japanese regulations that facilitate the finance-to-crypto leap. As Japan’s virtual currency exchanges are now licensed, it makes the country an ideal base for an increasingly global operation.
The popularity of bitcoin margin day trading among Japanese traders made transactions on the exchange go around an average of $2 billion a day during late April and early May. bitFlyer also saw the number of users more than triple since 2017.
Setting up a Global Network
Kano already has offices set up in Tokyo, San Francisco, and Luxembourg and has plans to open new offices in Africa, South America, Australia and other parts of Asia.
He’s aiming to deploy a crypto trading to businesses which includes digital payments and a brokerage-advisory service for startups and investors wanting to start their initial coin offerings.
Kano, believes former traders and bankers are the best-suited candidates for crypto firms because they know all there is to know on how to operate in regulated markets. As so, he is looking to have a team with representatives in as many countries as possible that can understand the local regulatory contours of the crypto space.
Apart from finance, Kano knows technology matters as well. That is why he is looking for the best candidates through several channels including hackathons or coding tournaments.
Kano foresees competition ahead as Wall Street companies are on the tail of this new industry as well. Intercontinental Exchange Inc., the owner of New York Stock Exchange, is planning to launch a platform that enables investors to bet on cryptocurrency while Goldman is preparing to start a bitcoin-trading business. In Japan, financial companies such as Monex Group Inc. and SBI Holdings Inc. are also going big in cryptocurrency businesses.
Even though the average daily turnover at global crypto exchanges fell to $9.1 billion in April from $17 billion in December as prices for most significant tokens sank more than 50 percent from their highs, bitcoin is still up more than 1,800 percent on a two-year horizon. The recent performance means that the hype isn’t gone yet and there is plenty of future for the industry to grow.
Up until now, Kano has been able to gather a team of more than 150 experienced professionals that came from Barclays, Credit Suisse Group AG, and many other financial institutions. Kano is having a lot of success with his venture, and the team will much likely surpass 300. If all goes well before 2020 Kano will have his global conglomerate all ready to go.