In a move that could help legitimize and give way to the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies for day-to-day transactions on merchant websites, Rakuten, popularly known as the ‘Amazon’ of Japan, is likely to introduce Bitcoin as one of the means to make payments on their e-commerce website.
The Japanese giant, Rakuten, which is one of the biggest e-commerce and internet companies of its kind, is likely to introduce the cryptocurrency as a payment option sometime in April 2019 after the expected restructuring of the company. This is a step forward for a company that has already exhibited its inclination to wade into the cryptocurrency market after it acquired local cryptocurrency ‘Everybody’s Bitcoin’ in August 2018.
The acquisition in last August came after a rising number of foreign merchants and customers linked to Rakuten appealed for cryptocurrencies to be listed as a mode of payment on the e-commerce website. The company, in a statement, had said:
“The role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”
According to the documents released by the company, after the restructuring in April, Rakuten Settlements will be responsible for the serving, processing, and payment of all of Rakuten’s transactions, including those made by the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Everybody’s Bitcoin itself will cease to be used as a mode of payment after March 2019.
Rakuten’s move is another step forward in cryptocurrencies gaining wider acceptability among the public. Despite the hype, the general perception about these digital currencies has been skepticism. If as suggested, Rakuten does go on to list Bitcoin as a mode of payment, it will reverse such a perception. The use of blockchain powered cryptocurrencies as a mode of exchange will also ensure that all transactions made on the e-commerce website are done quickly and seamlessly.
Furthermore, it may also signal a willingness among other e-commerce giants such as Amazon or Alibaba to experiment with the same, at least on a temporary basis, to check its viability in light of a growing number of consumers demanding the same.
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