Ex-Deutsche Bank veteran shrugs off turmoil with crypto startup

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A former Deutsche Bank AG veteran’s Japanese cryptocurrency exchange is poised to start trading services just as Bitcoin shows signs of a recovery from coronavirus-fueled turmoil.

More than two years after its foundation, FXcoin Ltd. plans to offer Bitcoin transactions on its platform from May, it said in a statement Thursday. The firm has recently begun accepting applications from customers who want to open accounts.

Chief Executive Officer Tomoo Onishi is betting that stimulus measures to fight the economic fallout from the pandemic will flood global markets with cash, causing some money to flow into digital currencies. Bitcoin plunged along with traditional assets last month, dashing hopes that it might act as a haven during times of upheaval.

“There is no asset that’s absolutely safe,” Onishi said in an interview. Still, he said there is evidence that digital currencies don’t move in tandem with conventional assets over the long term, making them worth including in a portfolio to diversify risks. “I’m a bull on virtual currency prices,” he said.

Backed by financial conglomerate SBI Holdings Inc., FXcoin is among 23 exchange operators that are registered with the Financial Services Agency. Japanese authorities have been tightening oversight of the industry after a series of hacks in the country.

FXcoin plans to expand into other digital tokens including Ripple and Litecoin, and eventually build a swaps market to offer investors a tool to hedge against price volatility, said Onishi, a former currency sales manager at Deutsche Bank.

He wants to increase headcount to about 50 by the end of this year from 36 currently. The company aims to start making a profit by the end of next year but has no numerical earnings target, Onishi said.

Bloomberg News
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