The Japanese bank SBI Holdings has announced today that its virtual currency exchange has gone live for a limited number of users.
The exchange, called VCTRADE, was launched by the SBI Virtual Currencies subsidiary of the bank. The 20,000 users who registered in October last year when applications opened will be given login details to access the exchange. Accounts for new customers will become available in July.
Surprisingly, the first, and so-far only, coin supported on the exchange is not Bitcoin but Ripple (XRP). This is because SBI Holdings is partnered with Ripple, with whom they collectively own and operate SBI Ripple Asia. Support for Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has been planned for the future, although no specific times have been provided.
The VCTRADE project was originally announced over a year ago in October 2016 when the SBI Virtual Currencies subsidiary was established. However, its launch was postponed due to concerns over the strength of exchange cybersecurity measures in lieu of the $400 million NEM token theft from fellow Japanese exchange Coincheck.
No transaction fees will be charged initially for trading the XRP/JPY listing but there is a 51 yen withdrawal fee for any amounts withdrawn to their affiliate Internet bank SBI Sumishin Net Bank. Withdrawals to any other banks will be significantly higher.
Early this year SBI Holdings pulled out of a business deal with Huobi Group that would have seen it expand its business into China and other Asian markets. It cited the desire to utilize SBI Group resources to build a more secure system with better processing capacity.
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