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

By akohad Feb27,2023


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 told Bloomberg.

Kano shared the Bloomberg post on Feb. 27 to his 111,500 Twitter followers. Source: Twitter

According to the interview, if reinstated Kano intends to introduce stablecoins to the trading platform, to build a token-issuance operation, and to 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, which has seen the departure of some international competitors recently. On Dec. 28, Kraken announced the closure of its Japan business, while Coinbase halted its Japanese operations on Jan. 18. 

Related: Japanese Exchange bitFlyer Blockchain Arm Launches Consulting Service

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 to adopt more stringent money laundering policies.

Kano added that multiple CEOs have come and gone since then because, as bitFlyer’s largest shareholder, he had 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.”