Coinbase Follows Kraken to Japan Exit

“Due to market conditions, our company has made the difficult decision to halt operations in Japan and to conduct a complete review of our business in the country,” the exchange said


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Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is winding down its business in Japan after laying off more than 950 people in its most recent round of job cuts

The exchange said in a Wednesday blog that it will terminate transactions with current customers, who have until Feb. 16 to withdraw their assets.

“All Coinbase, Inc. customers can withdraw fiat currency and cryptocurrency holdings from Coinbase by February 16th,” the company said.

Customers can either choose to liquidate their holdings or withdraw Japanese Yen to their local bank account. They won’t be able to make fiat currency deposits after Jan. 20. 

After the deadline, any remaining cryptoassets will automatically be converted into the local currency, and these will be deposited with the Legal Affairs Bureau in line with the law.

Industry rival Kraken also announced at the end of December that it would pull out of Japan by the end of January, saying the resources needed to grow its business there weren’t justified at the time.

Coinbase laid off more than 2,000 people in the last year as exchanges navigated turbulent markets and lower revenues from an intensifying crypto winter, that has left its stock price vulnerable to periods of significant volatility. 

Rating agency S&P Global recently downgraded Coinbase’s long-term issuer credit rating, citing slow crypto trading volumes and rising regulatory risks. However, BTIG analysts said in a Jan. 16 note that certain factors could boost the company and its stock in 2023.

Coinbase has the advantage of market share as a result of FTX’s collapse, BTIG said. In fact, the exchange’s market share is said to have increased from 29% in October to 39% in December.

“Our bullish thesis for [Coinbase] shares at this point is anchored by two beliefs: that the company’s liquidity should provide it with the runway it will need to support its operations until the next digital asset bull market begins, and that its status as a safe haven will enable it to emerge from the ongoing shakeout within the crypto exchange space in a position of strength,” BTIG analysts Mark Palmer, Andrew Harte, Thomas Smith wrote.

Coinbase shares are down 76% in the last 12 months, but are up 43% in the last week alone, according to data from TradingView.

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