Looks like Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce giant may soon start accepting Bitcoin. The indication regarding this came when founder and Chief Executive Hiroshi Mikitani said that the company is thinking about it, and it probably will. He was putting his views at the Rakuten Financial Conference in Tokyo.
Mr. Mikitani delivered his opinion at a panel discussion on crypto-currencies and other alternatives to cash and credit cards and whether the companies should like to be open. However, he declined to specify when the company might decide, saying it was a trade secret. Nonetheless, this is a clear indication that Rakuten is not against Bitcoin.
Moreover, the indication coming from Rakuten, one of the largest Japanese companies to take an interest in Bitcoin and other digital currencies, gives hopes for the local users as well as the people around the world who think it will enhance the presence of virtual currency. Moving ahead towards its interest in Bitcoin, the company has formed a department.
The department according to the company studies digital currencies and invest in Bitcoin-related ventures in the U.S., including San Francisco-based Bitnet Technologies. Nonetheless, the number of Bitcoin-related startups is rising in Japan, despite the failure last year of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, then the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange.
Some Bitcoin startups like BitBank Inc and Resu Press Inc., which offer user platforms for retailers and individuals, have also become symbol of presence of the virtual currency. Now that there are indications that Bitcoin may be getting one of Japan’s largest e-commerce sites on its side, the local supporters of the virtual currency are showing their happiness.
Multibillion Dollar Company will Give Impetus to Acceptance of Bitcoin
The people who have been observing Bitcoin market in Japan claim that this has been coming for quite a while as back in July, Mikitani had said that the company was looking to accept Bitcoin and that it would happen “sooner or later.” Thus, it looks like Rakuten has long been planning to embrace the digital currency.
If Rakuten starts accepting Bitcoin, it will give great impetus as it is one of the largest ecommerce companies with $5.3 billion in revenue in 2013. The company’s operations are not limited to ecommerce though as it has its own bank, distributes credit cards, and operates its own securities brokerage.
Additionally, the conglomerate owns Kobo, which is an e-book company that competes with Kindle and acquired the messaging app Viber in February 2014. Nonetheless, Rakuten is all set to join the Club Bitcoin e.g. Dell, Expedia, Overstock and Microsoft.
To contact the reporter of this story: Deepak Tiwari at firstname.lastname@example.org