BitFlyer, Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has cleared another hurdle in its bid to set foot on U.S. soil.
The Tokyo-based exchange announced on Tuesday that it has been approved by the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) to operate in the state as a virtual currency exchange. BitFlyer is the fourth exchange to be granted New York’s elusive “BitLicense,” along with Coinbase, Circle and Ripple.
In an interview with CoinGeek, BitFlyer U.S. COO Bartek Ringwelski said a BitLicense is “incredibly important” for cryptocurrency companies like them that are planning to enter the U.S. market.
“New York is a doorway through which institutional funds will enter the market. We are glad the NYDFS granted us the license,” said Ringwelski.
BitFlyer accounts for more than 80 percent of global BTC-JPY trading volume, according to CryptoCompare data. Founded in 2014,BitFlyer raised an estimated $27 million in a Series C funding round last year. The company said it has facilitated over $40 billion in bitcoin trades, $30 billion of which came in 2017 year-to-date alone.
Following its success in the Japanese market, BitFlyer announced several months ago that it has started preparing to enter United States. The announcement comes at a time when the country’s complicated regulatory framework has resulted in several exchanges to pull out their services in some states.
BitFlyer said it in August that has already been approved to operate in 34 states. That number has since expanded to 42 states after the company secured the “nod of approval from one of the most influential state financial services regulators in the nation,” said CEO Yuzo Kano.
The company plans to bring “deep expertise and proprietary technology to the U.S. market,” with particular interest on the “currently untapped” institutional investors in the United States.
For starters, BitFlyer rolled out a U.S.-based virtual currency exchange platform, which is designed for professional traders who trade US$100,000 or more in cryptocurrency monthly. The BitFlyer platform features “a powerful API for programmatic traders,” allowing investors to place market, limit and complex trade orders.
“Our expansion and upcoming cross-border trading addresses a huge unmet need in the U.S. by institutional traders looking to access large amounts of liquidity across multiple virtual currency markets,” Ringwelski said in a statement. “Through our web interface or API, approved professional traders can be up and running and making trades in a matter of minutes.”
BitFlyer is offering zero percent trading fees in the United States until the end of 2017. The U.S. exchange platform currently supports BTC, but the company said it will expand its offerings to include Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin, among others.