Mar 30, 2023
BitFlyer Co-Founder Yuzo Kano to Return as Crypto Exchange’s CEO
(Bloomberg) -- BitFlyer Holdings Inc.’s board reappointed co-founder Yuzo Kano as chief executive officer, putting him back in charge of Japan’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange after a dispute over the startup’s ownership and management.
The move followed a shareholders meeting on Thursday, when Kano’s proposal for a change in leadership was approved, confirmed Naoto Hida, a spokesman for Tokyo-based BitFlyer. Kano owns 40% of BitFlyer and stepped aside from the top role in 2019 after a regulatory crackdown.
Kano’s reappointment is “very encouraging,” Hida said. “We will aim to become Asia’s No. 1 Web3 company.”
Read more: BitFlyer Founder Seeks Comeback to Calm Crypto Exchange Turmoil
A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. derivatives and convertible bonds trader, Kano has been making plans to revamp the company so it can seek a public listing and further expand abroad, he said in an interview last month. He’s sekeing to bolster BitFlyer’s business by introducing stable coins, building a token-issuance operation and potentially opening up its Miyabi blockchain technology to the public.
The leadership change comes as the global digital asset industry deals with the fallout from the meltdown of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX. In Japan, Kraken has officially announced it will close its local business, while Coinbase Global Inc. has said it will unwind most of its operations in the country.
This week, Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance Holdings Ltd., was sued by Commodity Futures Trading Commission, accusing the crypto exchange of routinely breaking American derivatives rules.
Read more: Binance Crackdown Threatens US Trading Firms, Spooks Market
Kano and the current management and other shareholders had for months wrestled over control of the nearly decade-old company before Thursday’s meeting. Kano said he quashed a deal last year to sell the exchange to ACA Partners because he suspected that the Singapore-based fund was collaborating with current management to shut him out by convincing a majority of investors to accept their bid to buy BitFlyer.
Akihiro Azuma, ACA’s chairman, declined to comment last month on a detailed list of questions regarding last year’s developments involving the attempted acquisition of BitFlyer.
(With comment from a spokesperson in first two paragraphs.)
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