Bitcoin tumbles 9% after Japan watchdog orders exchanges to beef up practices against money laundering

An employee uses a smartphone as he demonstrates how to purchase bitcoins from a bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM) at the Coin Trader bitcoin retail store in Tokyo, Japan.

Bitcoin prices fell roughly 9 percent Friday after Japan’s financial regulator ordered several cryptocurrency exchanges to improve their practices against money laundering.

The digital currency traded at $6,136 as of 9:47 a.m. ET, breaking below $6,400 for the first time in about a week, according to CoinDesk.

The order from Japan’s Financial Services Agency led bitFlyer — the largest crypto exchange in the country— to suspend the creation of new accounts while it makes improvements to its business, especially in its measures to stop money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Our management and all employees are united in our understanding of how serious these issues are, as well as how serious we are in responding to them going forward,” bitFlyer said in a statement on their website.

Bitcoin’s Friday performance

Source: CoinDesk

“In order to maximize our efforts towards building a suitable service and improving on the issues identified, we have temporarily suspended account creation for new customers of our own volition,” bitFlyer said.

The agency gave the same order to five other other exchanges after finding weaknesses in their anti-money-laundering controls.

“In the long-term, it builds a better ecosystem and makes sure this is a legitimate asset class,” said Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM.”This is part of making sure exchanges are up to snuff.” […]

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