BitFlyer, one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges by volume, has been given the green light by regulators to operate in Europe, the Tokyo-based business said on Tuesday (23 January).

It has been granted a Payment Institution (PI) licence to operate in the EU and claims to be the first bitcoin exchange to be regulated across Japan, the US and Europe.

Exchanges used to buy and sell cryptocurrency are coming under increasing pressure as governments voice concerns about links to cybercrime and money laundering.

South Korea is the latest country to take a harder line and has banned anonymous transactions.

"I am proud that we are now the most compliant virtual currency exchange in the world. This coveted regulatory status gives our customers, our company and the virtual currency industry as a whole a very positive future outlook," said Yuzo Kano, founder of BitFlyer.

He added: "When I set up BitFlyer in 2014 I did so with global ambitions and the belief that approved regulatory status is fundamental to the long-term future of bitcoin and the virtual currency industry."

BitFlyer was granted its PI licence by the Luxembourg regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF). From the company's base in Luxembourg House of Financial Technology Foundation it will market its platform across the EU.

"We're delighted that one of the most successful Japanese startups chose Luxembourg as their EU platform," said Pierre Gramegna, the Luxembourg Minister of Finance.

The company is offering 0% trading fees until the end of February 2018 and says it plans to add support for Litecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Bitcoin Cash later this year. The business, which launched in the US in 2017, is targeting professional, high-volume traders.

BitFlyer claimed to be "the world's largest bitcoin exchange and the only one licensed in Europe that will allow users to trade with Japan, the world's largest market for bitcoin trading." CoinMarketCap, however, lists Bitfinex as the clear top market.

BitFlyer, in comparison, is listed on CoinMarketCap as the sixth largest bitcoin market, trading $292,565,000 over the past 24 hours. Bitcoin is priced at $10,460 (£7,511) at the time of writing.

"What we bring to Europe is a platform designed by traders for traders," said Andy Bryant, chief operating officer of BitFlyer Europe.

"Through our web interface or API, traders can get up and running quickly and benefit from some of the highest speeds and an interface designed with their specific needs in mind."