BitGo, one of the largest cryptocurrency custodians, is quietly expanding its presence in Japan, a market it broke into over a year ago, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The firm also confirmed to The Block separately that it is also looking to build up its Japan-based team, including hiring for a sales director to join the company’s sales team in Tokyo. This role will be mainly responsible for selling “[BitGo’s] digital wallet and offline vault solutions,” according to a job post.
Responsibilities for the role as listed on the job ad indicate that BitGo might be planning to grow its Japanese client base and snag a substantial market share in the Japanese cryptocurrency market, as the new hire “will build fundamental account plans, operational strategy and drive activity in potential clients.” BitGo declined to disclose the size of its Japanese sales team, although a quick LinkedIn search shows that the company has had a sales account manager based in Japan since July 2018.
Japan’s fast-growing appetite for blockchain may help explain BitGo’s move into this Asian market. It is reported last month that the Japanese messaging giant LINE was close to securing Japanese regulators’ approval to launch a crypto exchange. The country’s Amazon-counterpart Rakuten is also preparing for its own cryptocurrency exchange. Additionally, many Japanese tech companies are also considering issuing their own stablecoins, according to market maker B2C2 Japan CEO Phillip Gillespie.
“Japan has gone a step further, the tech companies have gone a step further. That’s what I mean by maybe we should pay attention to what happens [in Japan],” said Gillespie in an interview with The Block in May.
However, a growing market with increasing interest does not mean that there is no existing competition. Japanese Bank Nomura is also planning to launch an institutional-grade custody solution for cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, Coinbase, which provides one of the largest custody services in the cryptocurrency market, also established an office in Japan last year.