BitFlyer founder seeks to reinstate self as CEO, leading firm to IPO: Report

    27 Feb 2023

    Despite stepping down as CEO for three years, Yuzo continued to have a significant influence on the company being the firm’s largest stakeholder.

    Yuzo Kano, the co-founder of Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange bitFlyer, is seeking to reinstate himself as CEO in a shareholders meeting next month, in an apparent bid to reinvigorate what he claims is a stagnating firm.

    Kano resigned in 2019 following a series of management disputes but is now determined to reinvigorate the crypto firm and lead it toward an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the coming months, according to a Feb. 26 report by Bloomberg.

    The former CEO also said he also wants to put Japan back on the map in the world of cryptocurrency.

    “I will make it capable of fighting on the international stage,” the bitFlyer co-founder said in a recent interview.

    According to the interview, if reinstated, he intends on introducing stablecoins to the trading platform, build a token-issuance operation, and open-source bitFlyer’s “miyabi” blockchain to the public, along with pursuing an IPO in the coming months.

    Kano — who retained a 40% stake in the company despite stepping down — explained that during his time away as CEO, bitFlyer stopped innovating and launching new products and services, which he intends on changing.

    It is “a company that produces nothing new,” he claimed.

    With over 2.5 million accounts, bitFlyer is one of the larger cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan. Some of its competitors, such as Kraken, recently announced the closure of its Japan business on Dec. 28, 2022, while Coinbase halted its operations in the country on Jan. 18, 2023.

    Much of the management issues experienced at the firm came in part due to regulatory pressures imposed by Japan’s Financial Services Agency in 2018 as a means to adopt more stringent money laundering policies.

    He added that multiple CEOs have come and gone since then because they Kano, being bitFlyer’s largest shareholder, pointed out where they were falling short:

    “It’s my responsibility to point out issues and demand improvement […] I reprimand people when they cause problems, make false reports or fail to do whatever they are supposed to do.”

    Nonetheless, the former CEO believes the “very strict regulations” set in place can serve as a “model for the rest of the world.”


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