Crypto exchange Coinbase to halt Japan operations

Illustration shows a representation of cryptocurrency and Coinbase logo
A representation of cryptocurrency is seen in front of Coinbase logo in this illustration taken March 4, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Jan 18 (Reuters) - Coinbase Global Inc (COIN.O) is halting its operations in Japan due to volatile market conditions, the cryptocurrency exchange said on Wednesday, days after it announced job cuts amid waning demand for digital assets.

The move comes just weeks after rival exchange Kraken said it was ceasing its business in the country.

"Japan is unlikely a material contributor to Coinbase revenue," Oppenheimer analyst Owen Lau said, adding the company has been examining the market for some time but just got the license from the Japanese regulator a year and a half ago.

The cryptocurrency market is going through turbulent times as the plunging value of digital assets amid rising interest rates and the collapse of some of its biggest players, including FTX, have shaken the faith of investors in what was seen as the next big thing in the world of finance.

Coinbase, and Huobi have all announced plans to lay off about 20% of their respective staff, while a source told Reuters earlier this month that Genesis, too, had cut jobs, equating to 30% of its workforce.

All Coinbase Japan customers will have until Feb. 16 to withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings, the company said in a blog post.

The company's shares shed about 86% of their value last year, amid a brutal selloff in cryptocurrencies ranging from bitcoin to dogecoin that wiped out more than a trillion dollars from the sector.

Reporting by Jyoti Narayan and Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Janane Venkatraman and Anil D'Silva

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