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Coinbase eyes Japan expansion after landing investment from Bank of Tokyo

TechCrunch TechCrunch 8/07/2016 Jon Russell

Coinbase, one of the world’s largest bitcoin companies, has set its sights on Japan after landing funding from a range of Japanese investors, including Bank of Tokyo and a firm that helped Twitter enter the country.

The U.S. company announced that it has partnered with Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) to “support [its] long-term international expansion efforts” — in other words, expand its services to Japan. Coinbase also disclosed that it secured investment from BTMU, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital (MUCAP), and Sozo Ventures, a U.S.-Japanese fund that counts Twitter and LinkedIn among its investments.

Coinbase offers a consumer wallet service for buying bitcoin and spending it across various merchant partners, while it also operates a platform for institutional investors. The company has raised more than $100 million from investors, including its most recent $75 million round led by DFJ in January 2015. Reuters reported that the investment from Japan is $10.5 million.

The San Francisco-based company expanded to Singapore, its first port of call in Asia, last year, but it doesn’t currently have a target for when it will open an exchange in Japan — a move that will require the nod from regulators.

“While we do not yet offer digital currency exchange services in Japan, we are committed to continued international expansion and look forward to working with BTMU to support this focus in key markets in Asia and globally,” Coinbase said in a statement.

Japan is most notable in the bitcoin world for being the home of Mt. Gox, the controversial company that self-combusted two years ago following rumors of theft and fraud. These days, Japan is home to a number of exchanges — including BitflyerKraken, Quoine and CoincheckThe country passed new laws governing bitcoin earlier this year in response to the Mt. Gox meltdown.

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