Rakuten Launches Cryptocurrency Exchange for Customers
Rakuten has begun accepting applications for accounts for its anticipated cryptocurrency exchange called “Rakuten Wallet.” The company announced that pre-registration is available for customers with Rakuten Bank, but further details as to whether the service will be available for everyone has not yet been revealed.
The company previously stated that the crypto exchange will commence business in June 2019 and it will come with a mobile app that allows trading of crypto assets.
Rakuten had a revenue of $9 billion in 2018, and the decision to support cryptocurrency is seen as a way of accelerating adoption at the consumer level.
Although the company has operations worldwide, its base in Japan is a significant force in the crypto industry, with trading in Yen contributing to over half of the total Bitcoin purchases. Japan is the home of the first ever cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox, and the creator of Bitcoin adopted a Japanese alias, Satoshi Nakamoto. The country is credited for its advanced cryptocurrency regulations, and the Rakuten Wallet will receive clearance from the Japanese Financial Services Authority.
Although Rakuten is a diverse company, its focus on e-commerce will be vital in supporting cryptocurrency. Since 2015, some of Rakuten’s branches have been experimenting with Bitcoin payments. According to Rakuten, the role of crypto payments in offline retail, e-commerce, and in p2p payments is expected to grow in the future.
The use of crypto payments is expected to eliminate the risk of chargebacks that customers have to encounter when they use credit cards, the conventional payment method in e-commerce.
With crypto payments, customers will not have to worry about asking for refunds from credit card providers or banks. Equally cryptocurrency payments are cheaper because there are no fees incurred, which may impact on profit margins of the merchant.
Rakuten indicated that in order for the company to efficiently offer crypto payment, there is a need to have a cryptocurrency exchange function.
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