Japan's largest Bitcoin and blockchain company, bitFlyer, has now received an official license to operate in the state of Illinois.
After receiving a “BitLicense” to operate as a virtual currency exchange in New York in November 2017, the Tokyo-based company has now received approval to operate in 44 states and territories. On January 22, 2018, bitFlyer announced its expansion into Europe, after being granted a Payment Institution (PI) license to operate in the European Union. This announcement made bitFlyer the first cryptocurrency exchange to be regulated in Japan, the U.S. and the EU.
“bitFlyer has a culture of compliance and took an aggressive approach in obtaining money transmitter licensure,” Hailey Lennon, bitFlyer's U.S. Director of Compliance, told Bitcoin Magazine. “We successfully launched last November in 42 states and are very excited to add Illinois to that list. Big picture, bitFlyer aims to be a global exchange and allow cross-border trading. This means our various entities’ compliance programs need to reflect evolving regulatory requirements both locally and abroad."
Chicago, Illinois, is a hotbed of cryptocurrency activity and home of the Chicago Blockchain Center, founded by Matthew Roszak. Furthermore, financial markets company CME Group and Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), two companies that started bitcoin futures trading in December 2017, are located there.
bitFlyer was founded in 2014 and has raised $36 million in venture capital funding. While it supports only Bitcoin in the U.S. and Europe, it also supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Monacoin in Japan. In addition to bitFlyer’s work in fintech and blockchain research, the company is working on its own original blockchain, miyabi.