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Banking & Finance

SBI links to China's Huobi for virtual-currency launch

Japanese group eyes secure trading system for platform opening next year

TOKYO -- SBI Holdings is forging a capital tie-up with cryptocurrency trading platform Huobi to tap the Chinese company's expertise in exchange systems and operational know-how as it prepares to launch its own bourse early next year.

Huobi will take a 30% stake in SBI Virtual Currencies, a unit of the Japanese group, while SBI will purchase 30% and 10% interests in the Chinese partner's Japanese and South Korean subsidiaries, respectively.

Huobi ran its namesake trading platform for four years until the Beijing government shut down all digital-currency exchanges in mainland China this autumn. Huobi's platform was one of the largest in the country, boasting 1.65 million accounts -- more than the tally at any of the existing exchanges in Japan.

Even though SBI Virtual Currencies finished in September registering as a virtual-currency exchange in Japan, it is waiting to begin trades since it wants to ensure it has a secure trading system that blocks unauthorized access, for example. Unlike brokerage and foreign-exchange trading systems, cryptocurrency trading platforms require round-the-clock management.

For its part, Huobi wants to capture the growing Japanese market. The Chinese player runs an exchange in Singapore and aims to open platforms in Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan.


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