Controversy surrounding Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges fails to subside, with one of an exclusive list of 16 government-registered exchanges, Zaif, the latest to make headlines for the wrong reasons. Indeed, Zaif recently experienced a systemic glitch that saw customers able to ‘buy’ trillions of dollars worth of Bitcoin for free over a near-twenty minute window.

Per The Asahi Shimbun, one opportunistic crypto investor (temporarily) purchased Bitcoin valued at 2,200 trillion yen (~$20.5 trillion USD), and vainly attempted to sell it thereafter; igniting an outbreak of panic among traders of the Japanese crypto exchange. Adding to the bizarreness, the circulating supply of Bitcoin fails to total $1 trillion, let alone ~$20.5 trillion.

The Osaka-based exchange issued an apology to its perplexed userbase on Tuesday, explaining that during the “afternoon of February 16, 2018, a problem occurred in the price calculation system on our ‘simple trading’ service,” giving rise to a situation where users could “buy and sell the virtual currency at zero yen.”

The statement went on to detail the fact that seven users exploited were impacted by the systemic glitch. Of those, six attempted transactions had been voided, whilst they ensured they were working to recorrect the balance data of the remaining customer.

Zaif is a subsidiary of Tech Bureau Corp, a multinational corporation that identifies as a specialist in fintech and cryptocurrency software solutions. It comes as concerning, then, that such a glitch could occur on this particular virtual currency trading platform.

The fact that Zaif is one of the 16 crypto asset exchanges registered with the government only adds to the angst surrounding the technical integrity of cryptocurrency exchanges, particular amid a trend that has seen cyber hackers turn their attention to the burgeoning industry.

Japanese exchanges in particular seem a near-constant feature in the vibrant news cycle of the cryptocurrency world. Indeed, they are home to many infamous cases whereby exchanges were compromised; the most notable of which being the 2014 Mt. Gox incident, which remains a painful memory for many longtime crypto enthusiasts.

More recently, Coincheck fell victim to arguably the most valuable heist in written history, having had over $530 million worth of NEM stolen during a January cyber attack.

To their credit, Japan has arguably been leading the world in regards to their regulatory efforts to foster a reliable, trustworthy cryptocurrency trading hub, as evidenced by the introduction of their licensing regime last September, which is being administered by the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

In an attempt to further ease external scrutiny and better serve investors, Japan’s two extant self-regulatory bodies – the Japan Blockchain Association and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association – are set to merge in April, pending the approval of the FSA.

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