E-commerce giant buys itself a cryptocurrency exchange

E-commerce firm Rakuten – best known in the UK for snapping up Play.com many years back, and owner of a multitude of businesses worldwide – has added a cryptocurrency exchange to its business.

Ecommerce firm Rakuten has continued to invest in cryptocurrency, with the news that the Japanese firm has snapped up cryptocurrency exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. This adds to the group’s existing blockchain lab, that it established in Belfast in 2016. Furthermore, it follows the news from February this year (see below) that it was looking to launch its own cryptocurrency, as a way to reward its global customer base.

The acquisition of Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc was announced at the end of last week, and is expected to be ratified next month. As per its official announcement, “a growing number of customers, in particular, foreign exchange customers, of Rakuten Securities, the securities company of the Rakuten Group, have been calling for the provision of a cryptocurrency exchange service, which is also part of the background of the Rakuten Group considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry”.

Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc has been trading since March 2017, and is looking to register its cryptocurrency exchange business officially, as it seeks to expand further and “maximize synergies”.

Previously: February 2018

Rakuten is set to introduce a cryptocurrency, as part of a new customer reward programme.

The company, that’s now selling digital copies of films and TV shows amongst its many tentacles, announced the Rakuten Coin at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.

It’s a move that’s been coming for a while, given that it acquired a Bitcoin wallet company by the name of Bitnet back in 2016. Since then, Rakuten has been working on blockchain innovations for its business, and the announcement of the Rakuten Coin was made by CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.

Standing under a banner reading ‘vision for a borderless currency’, he explained that the Coin will utilised blockchain technology and fold into Rakuten’s existing customer loyalty programme, that goes by the name of Super Points.

Whilst no launch date for Rakuten Coin was given, Mikitani will be looking to roll it out across Rakuten’s many global businesses, that attract nearly $9bn in revenue per year. It’ll be used to reward customers, but also to potentially drive transactions across Rakuten vendors. Whilst Mikitani didn’t explicitly say so, it’s not expected to be the only fruit of Rakuten’s aforementioned Bitnet purchase. We await further developments with interest.