Rakuten Builds Blockchain Presence, Acquires Crypto Exchange in $2.4m Deal

The acquisition comes in response to demand from Rakuten's foreign exchange customers.

Japanese electronic commerce and internet company Rakuten has announced the acquisition of Everybody’s Bitcoin, a local bitcoin exchange. A share transfer agreement for 100 percent of Everybody’s Bitcoin was signed today, and will be finalized tomorrow on October 1st. The acquisition cost Rakuten 265 million yen ($2.4 million.)

“In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function,” Rakuten said in a statement. The company believes that “the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”

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The firm also expressed that it made the decision to acquire the exchange in response to demands from forex customers. Rakuten originally started receiving Bitcoin payments in 2015.

Rakuten Plans to Bring Everybody’s Bitcoin ‘Up-to-Snuff’

Everybody’s Bitcoin remains as an unregistered exchange in Japan. The company has come under scrutiny from the Japanese Financial Services Agency, which tightened its regulatory efforts in the wake of the Coincheck hack earlier this year. The exchange also reported a net loss of roughly $444,000 during the fiscal year that ended in March of 2018.

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Rakuten

Rakuten reportedly plans to improve Everybody’s Bitcoin’s operations in order to help the exchange gain an FSA license. “[Everybody’s Bitcoin] aims to register officially as a cryptocurrency exchange, and in order to further promote its cryptocurrency business, it decided to expand the business under the Rakuten Group to maximize synergies,” reads an official statement from Rakuten.

Rakuten’s Latest Foray into Blockchain

The acquisition is Rakuten’s latest step into the cryptosphere. The company announced that it was launching its own cryptocurrency in February. While the official date for the launch of the Rakuten coin has not been set, the token is slated to be used within all of Rakuten’s businesses, which include an on-demand video service, a travel company, and a mobile messaging service.

The company also established the Rakuten Blockchain Lab in 2016, a “dedicated research and development organization” based in Belfast.

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