Regulation: International

GMO Internet Inc. (“GMO”) is a Japanese-based tech conglomerate with over 4,700 full-time employees and a market cap of over 200 billion yen.  Since May 2017, the organization has taken steps to enter the cryptocurrency space, including the creation of a cryptocurrency exchange targeted towards institutional investors and retail traders and the formation of a cryptocurrency mining business in Northern Europe.

Recently, GMO released a statement that domestic employees will have the option to receive part of their salary payment in bitcoin.  This announcement is both interesting and important for a multitude of reasons, particularly because Japan is one of the primary players in the cryptocurrency world.  According to jpbitcoin.com, a Japanese website serving as a central hub for cryptocurrency news and information, yen-based bitcoin trades accounted for nearly half of all bitcoin trades in November.  And while Japan’s Finance Minister recently remarked that bitcoin “has not yet proven to be credible enough to become a currency,” Japan’s Financial Services Agency confirmed that that bitcoin can be used as legally accepted payment in the country. 

Blockchain advocates have been awaiting the final decision by ASX Ltd, the Australian Securities Exchange, as to whether ASX will replace its existing and aged CHESS registry, settlement and clearing system with a blockchain-based system that ASX has been developing and testing for the last two years.  Today, ASX