Rakuten says it believes that cryptocurrencies will have a larger role in e-commerce in the future.

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The Japanese e-commerce and online trading giant Rakuten has bought the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin.

According to the official Raukten announcement, its subsidiary Rakuten Card acquired 100% of the Tokyo-based exchange. The deal is worth JPY 265 million (around $2.4 million).

Rakuten notes that the decision to acquire a cryptocurrency exchange comes in response to the rising interest in crypto trading, mainly among the clients of its online securities and forex trading platform Rakuten Securities, which is one of the largest by trading volume in Japan.

Everybody’s Bitcoin was established last year and applied to Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) for a cryptocurrency trading registration. Since then, the exchange has been operating as a deemed cryptocurrency exchange with pending approval of the official registration. This April, Everybody’s Bitcoin got a slap on the wrist by the FSA regarding its anti-money laundering and KYC-procedures and book-keeping, but continues operating.

“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,” Rakuten said in a statement.

Besides, Rakuten said it has been interested in cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology for a while, having established Rakuten Blockchain Lab in 2016 and has been researching the technology ever since.

“We expect that the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future,” the company said. “In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function, and have been considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry as the Rakuten Group.”

Rakuten is a publicly-traded Japanese conglomerate with various activities. Its main interests lie in online retail, fintech, financial services, digital content and communications. The group has over 1 billion customers worldwide, including Europe, the US and Canada, and is sometimes dubbed “The Amazon of Japan”.

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2018-08-31 16:28:19

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Christina Dimitrova

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