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Rakuten, Amazon's Rival of Japan, Plans to Start Accepting Bitcoin and Crypto Payments in April 2019
Every blockchain technology and cryptocurrency enthusiast is awaiting the day they will be able to buy coffee, bread, toothpaste and other day-to-day essentials using cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, these investors look forward to online payment systems such as Amazon adopting Bitcoin as payment options. Amazon, the largest online marketplace in the world would be a dream come true to most crypto enthusiasts but we are yet to get there. However, Rakuten, an online market giant in Japan is introducing cryptocurrency payments, much to the delight of shoppers on the site.
The announcement to add crypto payments on the site was made back in September 2018 after Rakuten acquired, “Everybody’s Bitcoin”. The plan to launch crypto payments is set to take off in April this year shortly after the company completes its corporate restructuring.
The company’s restructuring process will involve its various business sectors and subsidiaries being placed in the four main business operation segments: Fintech, Communication, Internet Service, and Settlements. Each business will have its own functions and management system.
The Rakuten Settlement will be in charge of Everybody’s Bitcoin and all transactions, settlements, and payments from Rakuten. The subsidiary, Everybody’s Bitcoin is expected to close shop at the end of Q1 2019 with the operations expected to resume after the restructuring process.
Rakuten is one of the biggest online marketplaces in the world today and the addition of cryptocurrencies will help boost the overall adoption across the world. The company is supporting cryptocurrency payments and has released a number of statements showing its support of Everybody’s Bitcoin.
Rakuten Coin: Blockchain-Based Cryptocurrency Loyalty Token?
Rakuten’s involvement in the crypto industry has been rumored for some time. Back in 2016, Rakuten acquired Bitnet, a bitcoin wallet startup, to help the company work on blockchain technology and applications. Today, we’re seeing one of the first outcomes of that deal: Rakuten Coin.
The company’s existing loyalty program, called Rakuten Super Points, will be rolled into Rakuten Coin in its entirety. The points will continue to be used to encourage loyalty services globally and to help customers buy goods across different Rakuten services and markets.
Rakuten CEO Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani announced the news on stage at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, describing Rakuten Coin as a “borderless” currency, as reported by Tech Crunch.
A launch date for the service has not yet been announced.
Rakuten Is One Of The Biggest E-Commerce Players To Enter The Crypto Space
Rakuten is one of a number of major companies trying to figure out its cryptocurrency strategy. Companies want to tap into the hype surrounding cryptocurrencies. Companies have also noticed the surge in attention – and the surge in stock price – companies receive when they announce a cryptocurrency-related venture.
With that in mind, Rakuten Coin was launched for two specific reasons:
- The company wants to see if it can drive more transactions from people internationally by cutting out exchange rate fees and other “friction” issues when customers purchase goods and services in fiat currencies
- Rakuten wants to take advantage of the buzz surrounding cryptocurrencies; there are people who might not be interested in loyalty programs that take note of Rakuten Coin because they’re interested in cryptocurrencies, for example
Obviously, Rakuten is an accomplished company in its own right. The company has billions of users worldwide. It reported $8.8 billion in revenue in 2017.
Rakuten has also awarded over 1 trillion Super Points to users since the program was launched 15 years ago. Those Super Points are worth about $9.1 billion. Today, Rakuten users collect points every time they buy Rakuten products and services.
Rakuten also took advantage of Mobile World Congress to announce plans to become Japan’s fourth mobile operator and enter the telecommunications industry.
Rakuten’s largest competitor, Amazon, has not announced any crypto-related ventures at this time.
The Importance of Rakuten Releasing Its Mobile Pay App and Being Crypto-Friendly is Quite Impactful
Rakuten has announced that it will release a major update of its Rakuten Pay mobile app on the 18th of March, 2019, According to the Japanese e-commerce firm’s 2018 earnings release, published on the 12th of February, there appears to indicate a cryptocurrency payment in addition to its previous declaration
The firm’s presentation material for the fourth quarter revealed that the new update of the app will include all payment solutions embedded into one platform.
The recent materials confirm that Rakuten has revised its corporate structure
The company will also include the company’s new cryptocurrency exchange tagged “Everybody’s Bitcoin” as part of Rakuten Payment – the newly formed payments subsidiary
The subsidiary, which was previously known as ‘Spotlight’ will also include Rakuten Edy – the firm’s prepaid card service.
The firm’s earnings releases indicate that Edy and QR code payments will be supported in the new version of the app. Although the app’s new update does not totally support cryptocurrency, the firm’s specification of an
“all payment solutions” connotes support for crypto payments as a part of its subsidiary.
Rakuten bought ‘Everybody’s Bitcoin’ in August 2018 in a deal worth 2.4 million dollars at a time the firm’s representatives reported that it was deliberating on an entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry as it is optimistic that the use of cryptocurrency-based payments in offline retail, e-commerce and P2P payments will increase in future."
In its earnings release, Rakuten’s net income for 2018 was pegged at about 1.3 billion dollars, a 28.4 percent increase over 2017’s net income. Rakuten also announced in March 2015, that it has already started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment option on its portal, Rakuten.com.
Rakuten Inc. is a Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company founded in 1997 by Hiroshi Mikitani and based in Tokyo. Rakuten Ichiba –its B2B2C e-commerce platform is the reportedly the largest e-commerce website in Japan and it is also ranked the world's largest platforms by sales.
Major Rakuten Pay Mobile App Update Could Have Crypto Payment Feature, Aims to Release by March 18
Rakuten is an e-commerce firm in Japan that presently has a mobile app for consumers to access their services. A recent update of the Rakuten Pay mobile app was just announced, due to be released on March 18th.
Based on the announcement, the new structure looks as though it is geared towards supporting both fiat and cryptocurrencies. Specifically, the app says that it will offer “all payment solutions embedded into one platform.”
Rakuten, known more colloquially as Japan’s Amazon, has revised the corporate structure, which includes “Everybody’s Bitcoin” as part of a subsidiary of the company called Rakuten Payment. The payment subsidiary was formerly called Spotlight, though the connection makes it possible to use the prepaid card service as well, called Rakuten Edy.
The recent earnings release shows that Edy will be a part of the update, along with support for QR code payments. Still, the idea of cryptocurrency is implied more than anything, because they company does not specifically list cryptocurrency as part of the payment solutions that will be included.
However, considering that Rakuten Payment is a subsidiary of the company, the statement that the platform offers “all” of these payment options implies that it will be included as well.
Everybody’s Bitcoin was recently acquired by Rakuten in August last year, in a deal that cost the company $2.4 million. Back then, representatives for the company expressed that the firm was “considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry.” In their opinion, “the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”
An earnings report from Rakuten shows that their net income from last year totaled 141.9 billion yen, which is an increase of 28.4% from 2017. Two years earlier in March 2015, the Rakuten platform had decided to allow consumers to pay with Bitcoin through Rakuten.com, an American portal.
SBI Holdings, which is also based in Japan, has been expressing interest in entering the crypto industry. In July 2018, the company launched VCTRADE, their own crypto exchange. By December 2018, the exchange had begun allowing select major cryptocurrencies and bitcoin to be deposited.
Rakuten Enters Crypto Exchange Game, Purchases Everybody's Bitcoin Trading Platform
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is planning to take a big step into the cryptocurrency industry. According to new reports online, Rakuten wants to purchase a Japan-based bitcoin exchange for $2.4 million.
According to an announcement from Rakuten, the company acquired 100% of an exchange called Everybody’s Bitcoin earlier today. The acquisition is valued at 265 million yen or $2.4 million USD.
The exchange will be final on October 1.
This is a big deal for the crypto industry. Rakuten is one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. They operate the largest e-commerce platform in Japan. They also run Japan’s largest internet bank (and third largest bank overall). They’ve been called the “Amazon of Japan.” So yes, the Amazon of Japan just announced plans to purchase a crypto exchange.
In a statement, Rakuten explained how they believe in the future of cryptocurrencies as a secure online payment method:
“…the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”
Rakuten wants to prepare for that crypto future by buying a bitcoin exchange today:
“In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function.”
Rakuten also suggested that the crypto exchange acquisition was made in response to demands from foreign exchange customers on its securities business arm. These customers have been requesting a cryptocurrency exchange service.
Everybody’s Bitcoin is a relatively unknown bitcoin exchange outside of Japan. Within Japan, however, the exchange was one of several unlicensed cryptocurrency exchanges that faced scrutiny from Japan’s Financial Services Agency after the massive Coincheck hack in January. Japanese regulators wanted to ensure better business and security improvements.
Founded in 2017, Everybody’s Bitcoin reported a net loss of around $444,000 in the fiscal year that ended on March 30, 2018.
This isn’t the first time Rakuten has made headlines across the crypto community. Earlier this summer, we published a report explaining that Rakuten was also planning to launch its own cryptocurrency in order to expand its global userbase.
Rakuten, meanwhile, has accepted bitcoin payments since 2015. To accept bitcoin payments on its website, Rakuten has partnered with Bitnet.
Clearly, Rakuten sees potential in the future of cryptocurrency. The Tokyo-based e-commerce giant was founded in 1997 and has grown its Rakuten Ichiba platform to become the largest e-commerce website in Japan. Rakuten also has a direct connection to Japan’s banking industry: they operate the country’s largest internet bank and third largest bank overall.
Stay tuned to see what it means for the crypto industry now that the “Amazon of Japan” is operating a crypto exchange.