Japanese Tech Giant Doubles Down on Bitcoin, Buys Crypto Exchange
Tokyo-based Rakuten recently purchased the coin exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc.
The deal is expected to be finalized by October 1, 2018, as Rakuten purchased 100% of the company’s shares for 265 million yen ($2.4 million). The tech giant runs one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, Japan’s largest internet bank and the country’s third-largest credit card company by transaction value.
According to the company’s statement,
“Rakuten Group decided to acquire Everybody’s Bitcoin shares so that it can realize the early registration as a cryptocurrency exchange and develop cryptocurrency services to customers by combining the know-how of Everybody’s Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency exchange, and the know-how of Rakuten Group as a provider of various financial services.”
“We expect the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”
“In order to provide cryptocurrency payments methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function.”
Everybody’s Bitcoin launched in December of 2016. The Tokyo-based exchange is unlicensed and was the subject of a security probe by Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) following the Coincheck hack in January. After the acquisition, Everybody’s Bitcoin will be rebranded under Rakuten.
This isn’t Rakuten’s first foray into the crypto world. They first started accepting Bitcoin in 2015 and created the Rakuten Blockchain Lab in 2016 in the UK.
Rakuten is also planning to launch its own cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin, which is set for release some time next year on the popular mobile app Viber, which is also owned by Rakuten.
Rakuten was founded in 1997 and is considered to be the world’s fourth largest e-commerce company behind eBay, Alibaba and Amazon. Today, the company reports that it has over 1.2 billion members worldwide.