Japanese Regulator Sees Sharp Spike in Cryptocurrency Queries in Q1 2018

Japanese consumers are filing over three times the number of cryptocurrency enquiries in the first three months of 2018 compared to the previous quarter, figures from the country’s financial regulator reveal.

According to numbers disclosed by the Financial Services Agency’s (FSA) Counseling Office for Financial Services Users on Friday, the authority fielded a total of 3,559 enquiries about cryptocurrencies during Q1 2018. That figure is up over 3 times from that of the final quarter of 2017 with a total of 1,141 enquiries at the time, underlining the frenetic growth in interest in cryptocurrencies.

36 percent of the total inquiries related to general questions whereas 29 percent, a little over 1,000 queries related to their administration (regulation). A further 23 percent of those questions pertained to specific crypto-related transactions and individual contracts.

The numbers represent a similar growth trend in consumers’ interest in cryptocurrencies, as revealed during a recent cryptocurrency exchange study group meeting hosted by the FSA in late April this year.

Citing data [PDF] gathered and released by Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency (CAA), the agency saw a total of 2,679 broad inquiries filed in 2017 by general consumers broadly on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs), up from 847 in 2016, 440 in 2015 and a relatively mere 186 in 2014.

According to the FSA’s own figures, taken from a survey of 17 domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, the country has some 3.5 million active cryptocurrency traders as of figures released in early April. A majority of those traders are aged between 20 and 40 years, with a third of the group in their 30s. Bitcoin trading leads the way, reaching $97 billion in 2017, a striking increase from a trivial $22 million in 2014. Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin all figure among the most traded cryptocurrencies in Japan after Bitcoin.

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