Monex Group bids to buy FTX Japan

Tokyo-based financial services giant Monex Group is interested in buying the Japanese unit of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

Monex Group’s CEO Oki Matsumoto told Bloomberg that “Generally speaking, we naturally are interested,” adding that it will be a “very good thing if the number of crypto exchanges competing with his firm drops.”

Matsumoto sees potential in the Japanese market, partly because companies could soon start buying digital coins as investments and use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for their marketing campaigns. He wants the Tokyo-listed company to establish itself as one of the “few choices” for customers when such a time comes, he said.

Matsumoto also confirmed plans that Monex-owned cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck will pursue a public stock offering in the United States through Nasdaq — a move that would give the company access to the country’s lucrative capital markets. TradeStation Securities, the US broker-dealer arm of Monex Group, also said in November it will go public through a merger with a blank-check firm in a deal that values the combined entity at $1.43 billion.

In 2018, Monex Group completed its acquisition of Coincheck, which was the target of a $534 million hack that forced it to shut down activities. The group already has a diverse portfolio of brokerages worldwide though was rumored to be making a big splash in cryptocurrency markets. But its ambitions date back to 2011 when it acquired TradeStation Crypto, the cryptocurrency-focused subsidiary of its US brokerage arm.

FTX Japan had around 17.8 billion yen in cash and deposits and 10 billion yen in net assets at the end of September. The company plans to allow customers to withdraw their funds starting next month. The process will see FTX Japan’s customers become clients of Liquid by mid-January, and they will have access to their money and assets again from as early as mid- February. Liquid’s handling of the process will kick off after acquiring the client book followed by conducting balance checks.

The US court charged with overseeing FTX’s wind-up approved the petition to sell four functioning subsidiaries. The businesses include custody platform and broker-dealer Embed, crypto derivatives exchange and clearing house LedgerX, FTX Japan and FTX Europe, which have reportedly attracted as many as 117 expressions of interest.