Monex announces 3.6 bil. yen acquisition of troubled Coincheck


Japanese online brokerage Monex Group Inc. said Friday it has agreed to purchase all outstanding shares in troubled cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc. for 3.6 billion yen ($33.6 million).

The move would give Coincheck the financial backing necessary to rebuild after losing 58 billion yen of customers’ digital assets in a hacking attack earlier this year, while allowing Monex to gain a foothold in the cryptocurrency business.

“Coincheck is a global leader in cryptocurrency. We aim to fuse Monex’s financial know-how and Coincheck’s innovative philosophy,” Monex CEO Oki Matsumoto told a press conference in Tokyo.

Monex will acquire 45.2 percent of shares from Coincheck founder and CEO Koichiro Wada, 5.5 percent from board member Yusuke Otsuka, and the remaining 49.3 percent from six other shareholders on April 16.

Coincheck will become a wholly-owned subsidiary, with Monex Senior Executive Officer Toshihiko Katsuya leading its turnaround as CEO. Wada and Otsuka will step down to lower-level executive roles.

The breach in January, in which hackers targeted an unsecure digital “wallet” holding the cryptocurrency NEM, was the biggest ever heist of its kind. Coincheck last month reimbursed 46.6 billion yen in the Japanese currency to some 260,000 customers affected, dealing a hit to its finances.

The incident fanned concerns over the security measures in place to protect digital assets, with Japan’s Financial Services Agency cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges. The FSA slapped Coincheck with warnings to improve its business and launched a probe of other exchanges in the country.

Matsumoto said Coincheck, which is one of more than a dozen exchanges currently seeking government approval to do business, hopes to register in about two months and resume services halted following the hack, such as trading of certain types of cryptocurrency.

Monex had considered registering itself in order to enter the cryptocurrency business, but decided instead to acquire Coincheck.

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