TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Japan's two cryptocurrency industry groups are planning to merge to form a self-regulating body, seeking to better safeguard investors after last month's $530 million heist of digital money, sources involved in the negotiations said.
The Japan Blockchain Association and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association are expected to merge as early as April, the sources said.
The merged organisation may appoint the heads of the two existing associations as chairman and vice chairman, said the sources, who declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
The Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association said in a statement that nothing has been decided. Representatives for the Japan Blockchain Association could not be immediately reached for comment.
Last month, hackers stole about $530 million from Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck Inc, in one of the biggest-ever heists of digital currency.
The Coincheck heist exposed flaws in Japan's system and raised questions over the country's dash to regulate the industry - a sharp contrast to clampdowns by countries like South Korea and China. (Reporting by Takahiko Wada, Writing by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)