You probably have never heard about Rakuten because it operates in Asia mainly. Mostly in Japan. It’s an e-commerce firm founded in 1997 by Hiroshi Mikitani. It’s Japan’s largest e-commerce, and it’s among the largest in the world by sales.
It also owns and operates the country’s largest internet bank and the credit card company with the highest transaction value. And if that wasn’t enough, the firm has a lot of fingers in lots of other pies (fintech, digital content, communications) and it operates in 29 countries. It’s been dubbed “Japan’s Amazon.”
While the company was heavily focused on the domestic market in the beginning, it started to expand overseas in 2005, mainly through acquisitions and joint ventures. The company bought e-commerce platforms in the US, France, Brazil, Germany, the UK, Spain, and Canada. And that was just the start. The company’s growth has been strepitous.
This year will see Rakuten expand its operations into a new realm: the digital asset exchange game.
Authorization comes through
Last March (last month) 29th it was reported in Japan that the company will launch a new service called Rakuten Wallet, which will be the firm’s very own cryptocurrency exchange. It will go online later this year, in June. But you can send your application for a new account as early as April 15th, if you’re the kind of cryptonaut who likes to get in the action first.
Rakuten explained that a mobile app will enable customers to trade in cryptocurrencies. Accounts will be free, and all funds will be stored in cold wallets.
Rakuten’s new service has been in the works for some time now, but it had not made a move to actually launch it because it was waiting for regulatory approval from the Financial Services Agency (the Japanese financial markets regulator agency), which it finally received last March 25th.
That wasn’t the only permit granted by the FSA as it gave the green light to DeCurret to go online next April.
Rakuten already owns a cryptocurrency exchange called Everybody’s Bitcoin for USD 2.4 million last August, and it’s not clear how both exchanges will relate to each other.
Not many details are known about the new exchange. We don’t know if it will be decentralized, nor how many (and which) coins will be included in the platform for a start. But there’s plenty of time for news about Rakuten to develop from here to June, and we’ll be sure to report new details as they become available.
Rakuten has had great success in every business it has ever attempted, and we have no reason to doubt that if it goes into the cryptocurrency exchange market, the results will be equally successful.
This is good news for the crypto verse as a whole, not just for Rakuten or for Japanese traders. Big corporations, such as Rakuten, have been thoroughly skeptic about the digital asset world for almost a decade. So to see even a handful of them get their feet wet in the crypto waters shows that Bitcoin and all its descendants are gaining a good reputation among those who, in the past, didn’t like them at all.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.
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