Rakuten, one of Japan’s largest online retailers, is reportedly considering accepting bitcoin (BTC) payments.
Rakuten, often referred to as Japan’s version of Amazon, could start processing bitcoin transactions through its mobile payment app. As mentioned in the e-commerce giant’s latest annual earnings report, Rakuten’s management is currently working on an update for its mobile payment network, Rakuten Pay.
The upgraded version of the retailer’s payment app is scheduled to be introduced in March of this year. While it’s currently unclear how or whether bitcoin (or other cryptos) will be supported in the upcoming version of the app, Rakuten’s report noted that “all payment solutions [would be] embedded into one platform.” Other payment options which may be added include pre-paid card payments and the app will mostly likely also support transactions using QR codes.
“Everybody’s Bitcoin” Acquired For $2.4 Million In October 2018
In late August 2018, Rakuten had announced its plans to acquire a digital asset exchange called “Everybody’s Bitcoin” for $2.4 million. Rakuten’s acquisition of the crypto trading platform was reportedly finalized on October 1st, 2018. At that time, Rakuten’s management had said it believes “the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.” The online retailer had also mentioned (in August of last year):
In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function.
Rakuten’s official announcement further noted:
[We] have been considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry as the Rakuten Group.
The company’s earning report has revealed that the Japanese retailer generated more than $10 billion in revenue during FY 2018. Earlier this month, Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Malta-based crypto exchange, Binance had remarked (via Twitter) that Amazon, the world’s largest e-commerce company, would “have to issue a currency sooner or later.”
Binance CEO: Cryptos Involve “Less Paperwork”, Should Be Accepted By Online Merchants
Zhao, a former head of development at Blockchain.info, a leading crypto wallet provider and block explorer service, argued that cryptocurrencies should be a preferred payment method for any “internet (non-physical) based business.” The Binance CEO explained:
I don't understand why anyone would not accept crypto for payments. It is easier, faster and cheaper to integration than traditional payment gateways. Less paperwork. And reaches more diverse demographic and geography.
A recently conducted survey has revealed that 13% of Amazon’s customers would like to see the retail company sell cryptocurrencies through its platform. Another survey performed by LendEDU in March 2018 showed that more than half of respondents were interested in Amazon launching its own cryptocurrency. Earlier in 2014, Amazon had said it would not accept bitcoin as payment because “it was not hearing from customers that it’s right for them.”