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Binance unlikely to enter Japan in 2020 after negotiations fail

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Japan-based digital asset trading platform Tao Tao ended negotiations with Binance, setting back the timeline for the crypto exchange to launch trading services for users in the Asian nation.

According to an Oct. 5 update from Tao Tao, the platform stated it had “decided to end negotiations” with Binance after nine months. Binance had been discussing a collaboration with the digital asset trading platform as well Z Holdings’ daughter company Z Corporation — formerly Yahoo Japan — since Jan. 17 as part of its goal to enter the Japanese market. The digital asset trading platform is currently licensed by the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), while Binance is not. 

Tao Tao did not provide specific details regarding how the negotiation had ended, but a spokesperson told Cointelegraph Japan that the platform “could not agree on a strategy” with Binance. 

The exchange announced in January it would be restricting access to residents of Japan at an unspecified date, purportedly in response to an increasing number of regulations in the country. Binance was previously headquartered in Japan after leaving China in 2017, but stayed less than a year before relocating its offices to Malta. 

The move followed Japanese regulators at the FSA issuing a warning to the exchange in 2018 for operating without a license. In addition, modifications to crypto regulations through Japan’s Payment Services Act and Financial Instruments and Exchange Act were scheduled to come into effect starting in Q2 2020.

Amid these regulatory changes, crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX closed its services to Japanese residents in May. However, Kraken announced in September that it would be returning to the country after two years, following regulators granting a permit to its Japanese subsidiary Payward Asia to operate as a crypto asset exchange service provider.

Cointelegraph reached out to Binance, but did not receive a response at press time.



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DeFi and NFT crossover project Aavegotchi releases ‘Gotchiverse’ litepaper

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One of the original decentralized finance and nonfungible token (DeFi/NFTs) crossover projects is taking a step forward today with the launch of a metaverse litepaper.

Aavegotchi — a project that creates upgradeable NFTs backed by yield-bearing positions on lending platform and money market Aave — announced the publication of a litepaper devoted to a gamified metaverse called the “Gotchiverse.”

Aavegotchi co-founder Jesse Johnson joked about the sometimes-esoteric features and backstory in the litepaper on a celebratory Twitter Spaces today:

“This is not your typical litepaper, it’s got a lot of lore in it […] We’ve got a bit of a DeFi RPG in front of us.”

The metaverse will introduce a new, fungible ERC-20 token, the “Gotchus Alchemica,” which will be farmable from REALM land plots, themselves backed as NFTs — similar conceptually to Decentraland’s MANA/LAND two-token system. 

Alchemica can be used to craft upgrades to REALM plots, including structures like the “Gotchi Lodge,” which will enable groups of players to socialize as well as combine their farming efforts. Upgrades will take a “certain number of blockchain blocks to finish constructing,” but liquidity providers to Aavegotchi’s in-house AMM, the “Gotchus Alchemica Exchange,” can hasten the process with rewards for providing liquidity.

This gamified yield farming is woven into the Gotchiverse’s considerable lore and backstory — about a third of the 14-page litepaper is devoted to storytelling and fleshing out the universe. The antagonists of the game, the Liquidators, refer to actual liquidators on the lending platform Aave, and the universe is speckled with DeFi in-jokes — a “home base” area of the map is called the “Citaadel,” and types of Alchemica include “Fud,” “Kek,” and “Fomo.”

RELATED: Aavegotchis sell out in under one minute as NFT euphoria continues

Aside from the farming gameplay, Johnson said the map will be “a huge game of Pac-Man,” where Aavegotchi run/float around the map to collect Alchemica and return it to their REALMs before getting caught by Liquidators, which may be player-characters as well as AI. 

A full release date for the Gotchiverse is pending, though Johnson said sections will be released as early as Q3 2021. Johnson added that the team has grown to 20 full-time employees, including veteran video game industry talent.

While Johnson has long been a bannercarrier for DeFi and NFT crossovers, interest in metaverses has been picking up as of late. This month, Nvidia’s CEO said that we’re on the “cusp” of a blockchain-powered metaverse, and the founder of major gaming title Fortnite said that metaverse tech is “going places.”