TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's former top financial regulator Toshihide Endo will become special advisor to cryptocurrency exchange DeCurret next month, a move that could facilitate private sector efforts to build a common settlement infrastructure for digital currencies.
During his stint as Financial Services Agency (FSA) commissioner from 2018 to 2020, Endo oversaw Japan's banking and financial regulation, including on digital currency trading.
From April 1, Endo will advise DeCurret, which has been organising a study group including megabanks and major firms to look at a common platform for the country's digital payments system, the Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange said on Tuesday.
Representatives from the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the Ministry of Finance and the FSA have joined the study group as observers in a sign of Tokyo's willingness to promote innovation in the fast-growing industry.
Endo oversaw the FSA at a time Japan's crypto exchanges came under close regulatory scrutiny after the theft of digital coins at Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck in 2018.
In a 2018 interview with Reuters, Endo said he had "no intention to curb (the crypto industry) excessively," and he would seek to strike a balance between safeguarding clients and promoting technological innovation.
Unlike countries such as China where one or two digital payment systems dominate the market, Japan has a plethora of offerings competing against each other.
Aside from private-sector efforts to build a common payment settlement platform, the BOJ has announced plans to study the idea of issuing its own digital currency and will begin a first phase of expiriments on basic functions next month.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; editing by Richard Pullin)