Amid FTX's burning wreckage, Japan outpost promises asset withdrawals in February
Well what do you know – plenty of hard-nosed regulation by central authorities actually protected investors
Collapsed crypto exchange FTX's Japanese outpost has told customers it will permit them to withdraw assets in February.
A Monday post from FTX Japan states the outfit plans to allow withdrawals from an unspecified moment in February, through the Liquid web site.
Liquid was a Japanese crypto exchange acquired by FTX in February 2022. FTX completed the acquisition in March 2022 and co-branded the service.
The return of assets is possible thanks to Japan being one of few nations to have comprehensively regulated cryptocurrency exchanges.
The Land of the Rising Sun has implemented three rounds of laws regarding crypto. The first was in response to incidents like the theft of cryptocoin from Mt Gox in 2015. Then the 2018 Coincheck heist and the rise of initial coin offerings (ICOs) inspired further regulation.
And in 2022 Japan again passed crypto-related laws as it sought to deal with stablecoins and the rise of NFTs.
The result of all that lawmaking is that crypto exchanges in Japan are required to register with the Financial Services Agency, demonstrate they can comply with anti-money-laundering laws and similar regulations, set aside capital reserves, and separate customer and exchange assets.
Since FTX acquired Liquid after most of those rules were in place, FTX Japan should have been in a decent position to ride out the woes of its parent company.
And it was – but the collapse of FTX was so sudden and spectacular that FTX Japan went offline along with its parent.
- FTX audit finds $415m in crypto mysteriously vanished
- FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty on eight charges
- AWS, Microsoft, Google among businesses owed money after FTX collapse
- FTX CTO and Alameda Research CEO admit fraud, pair 'cooperating' with Feds
As The Register reported in December 2022, FTX Japan posted weekly updates advising investors of the assets it held and promising work on allowing withdrawals had commenced.
But those updates included an apology – FTX Japan staff could not log on to their systems to hand them out.
The organization appears to have sorted that out, because Monday's update states that in February customers will be able to withdraw their assets and download documentation needed for their tax returns.
To access it, customers will need to "link your FTX Japan account and your Liquid Japan account on the Liquid Japan web version and transfer the balance."
Which sounds promising, and suggests that systems are operating. Just not operating well enough that FTX Japan can set a date on which customers will be able to log in.
Most of the rest of FTX, meanwhile, remains a hot mess. ®