By Laignee Barron
April 11, 2018

For the first time, Japan’s financial watchdog has released data about the cryptocurrency trading boom in the country, substantiating its status as a leading bitcoin hub.

At least 3.5 million people were trading cryptocurrency on Japan’s 17 domestic exchanges as of the end of March this year, according to Coindesk’s translation of statistics from the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). The vast majority, 84%, are between the ages of 20 and 40.

The regulatory body also revealed that the trading volume of bitcoin in Japan swelled from $22 million in March 2014 to $97 billion in March 2017.

Meanwhile, trading on margins, credit and futures of bitcoin as an underlying asset soared from $2 million in 2014 to $543 billion in 2017.

The data windfall comes amid Japan’s push to increase transparency around cryptocurrency trading. The country has remained one of the epicenters of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency trading even as regulators around the region crack down.

The trading hype has persisted despite a massive hack of Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck in January that resulted in losses of about 58 billion yen ($533 million) worth of virtual currency, according to Coindesk.

Separately Tokyo’s Mt. Gox, which once handled around 80% of the global bitcoin trades, filed for bankruptcy in 2014, after losing some 850,000 bitcoins, Reuters reported.

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