Japanese Internet Giant Rakuten Opens Blockchain Lab in Belfast

The establishment of the new blockchain lab follows the acquisition by Rakuten of IP assets from Bitnet Technologies.

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) today announced the opening of the Rakuten Blockchain Lab in Belfast, UK, next week. The new venture will be a dedicated research and development organization within Rakuten, focused on blockchain technology and its potential applications in the fintech and e-commerce sectors.

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Back in April 2015 Rakuten.com become one of the largest e-tailers providing a bitcoin payment option, thanks to a cooperation with Bitnet Technologies Ltd., which operates a digital payments platform powered by blockchain. The establishment of the new lab now follows the acquisition by Rakuten of intellectual property assets from Bitnet.

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Rakuten Blockchain Lab operations will be headed up by Chief Technology Officer Stephen McNamara and Vice President of Engineering Fergal Downey, both of whom will join from Bitnet. The Lab will be part of Rakuten’s Ecosystem Services organization under its Technology Division, which is led by Fernando Paulo, Executive Officer, Rakuten, Inc.

Yasufumi Hirai, Group Executive Vice President, CIO, CISO and Head of the Technology Division, Rakuten, Inc., commented: “Drawing on the significant IP assets and deep engineering expertise of the Bitnet team and combining that with Rakuten’s leadership in fintech and support of innovative solutions, the new Rakuten Blockchain Lab will be our first step toward unlocking blockchain’s potential to revolutionize the way that financial and e-commerce transactions are conducted.”

“We are delighted that Rakuten have chosen to open their new Blockchain Lab here in Belfast. There are so many great opportunities for blockchain technologies inside Rakuten and the newly created lab will be instrumental in delivering new and innovative solutions” said Fergal Downey, VP of Engineering of the new Rakuten Blockchain Lab.

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