JAPAN'S Financial Services Agency [FSA] on Wednesday gave the cryptocurrency industry self-regulatory status, permitting the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association to police and sanction exchanges for any violation.

The government has been reviewing its approach toward an industry that has been hit twice by large scale thefts.

The FSA approval gives the industry association rights to set rules to safeguard customer assets, prevent money laundering, and give operational guidelines. The  association will also   have to police compliance.

''I's a very fast moving industry. It's better for experts to make rules in a timely manner than bureaucrats do,'' a senior  FSA  official said in a briefing, declining to be named.

Similar officially sanctioned bodies exist in industries such as securities brokerages.

''We will   make further efforts to build  an industry that is trusted  by customers,'' the cryptocurrency industry association said in a statement following the FSA approval.

Japan last year became the first country to regulate  cryptocurrency exchanges , as it encourages technological innovation while ensuring consumer  protection, Exchanges have to register with FSA.

Both  the regulator  and the industry were criticized after about  $60 million was stolen from Cryptocurrency  firm  Tech Bureau Corp in September.

Before the incident, the company was slapped   with  two business improvement orders by  FSA  following   the theft  of   $530 million  in digital coins at  Tokyo-based  cryptocurrency  exchange  Coincheck Inc in January. [Agencies]


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