Crypto exchange Kraken shuts down operations in Japan after massive job cuts

Kraken is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.

Tiffany Hagler Gear | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Digital currency exchange Kraken is set to cease operations in Japan next month, in another sign of consolidation in the struggling crypto industry.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Kraken said it would discontinue crypto trading services through its Japanese subsidiary Payward Asia and deregister from Japan’s Financial Services Authority on Jan. 1. 31st, 2023.

It’s the second time Kraken exits the Japanese market. The first was in 2018, when it closed four years after it first began operations in 2014. It was relaunched in the country in 2020 after receiving registration with the regulator.

Kraken said the move is “part of Kraken’s efforts to prioritize resources and investments in areas that align with our strategy and will best position Kraken for long-term success.”

It cited a combination of “current market conditions in Japan” and a “weak global crypto market” as reasons for its decision.

Japanese customers have until January. 31 to withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings from the Kraken platform, the company said. They have the option to either withdraw their cryptos to an external wallet or to withdraw and transfer them Japanese yen to a domestic bank account.

As of Jan 9, users in Japan will no longer be able to deposit funds into their accounts, although trading functionality will remain so they can convert their funds into an asset of their choice.

Kraken is one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, processing $408.9 billion in daily trading volume, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Along with numerous other major industry players, it has been deep in cost-cutting mode of late. Wed Nov. On Oct. 30, the company cut 1,100 jobs, or 30% of its workforce, a move it said was necessary to “adjust to current market conditions.”

Crypto has been hit with all sorts of scandals this year, dubbed the industry’s “annus horribilis.”

The pain began with the demise of Terra, a $60 billion former stablecoin operator, and was followed by the toppling of several other dominoes with exposure to the project, including crypto lender Celsius and hedge fund Three Arrows capital.

Crypto exchange FTX’s slide into bankruptcy is the industry’s most notable failure to date. Its controversial co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been released on bail while awaiting trial on fraud and other criminal charges.

Prices from Bitcoin and other digital currencies have suffered as investors have soured the market and rising interest rates have put downward pressure on speculative assets like tech stocks. Bitcointhe world’s largest token, is down over 60% so far this year.

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