Japan’s E-commerce Giant Ventures to Cryptocurrency Exchange Service


On August 19, Rakuten, Japan’s version of Amazon, cemented its robust stance on digital assets by launching its cryptocurrency exchange platform.  Since 2014, the e-commerce giant has been exhibiting a friendly attitude towards digital currencies by investing in crypto-supported payment systems. Notably, the newly-released platform would enable Rakuten users to buy, purchase, and trade leading cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ether (ETH).

The Optimistic Attitude towards Cryptocurrencies

In Japan, Rakuten is synonymous to optimism. Despite the never-ceasing FUDs that surround digital currencies, the e-commerce giant kept on pouring research and developmental funds into Blockchain and digital assets. Today, the industry’s analysts are saying that the effort had finally paid off. Rakuten has more than 17, 000 employees in its various branches worldwide and it boasts $14.5 billion in market cap.  In May 2019, Rakuten raked around $10 billion in total sales.

A press release by Rakuten Wallet Inc. explains how the users can take advantage of the new platform. Accessible through a smartphone application, the crypto service would allow users to deposit and withdraw Japanese yen and crypto-assets alike. The service is available around the clock.

The process of creating an account in Rakuten Wallet

As per the official announcement, it is free to create a Rakuten Wallet account. Even buying, purchasing, and trading crypto assets incur no fees at all. The procedures are simple. Users who already have a Rakuten bank account only need to enter the required details on the application form online.

However, crypto users who value their privacy more than any other might find the online application a little off the hook. In terms of cryptocurrency regulations, Japan is one of the countries with a rigorous regulatory framework over digital assets. Japan’s Financial Services Agency has implemented robust protocols in compliance with KYC and AML regulations.

As proof of the nation’s deep commitments to the laws, interested applicants have to answer “dating-like” questions. They must disclose their income as well as other information relating to their jobs. Furthermore, they must declare how long they’ve been involved in the crypto industry. It’s noteworthy that other peer-to-peer exchanges only require an email address and nothing more.  

Rakuten’s Efforts have influenced others, notably Amazon

In 2014, Rakuten started its journey in the crypto space by investing in a payments firm called Bitnet. In 2016, the Rakuten Blockchain Lab was established. The e-commerce giant’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed, and other industry players such as Amazon are reportedly working on their research and developments.

In May, Amazon obtained a patent for its Merkle Tree project. The company is working on some unknown applications. While it doesn’t process crypto-supported payment transactions as of the moment, the decision to integrate the Bitnet portal is a sign that it might soon accept in the future. It’s worth noting that the e-commerce giant has already made its Amazon Coin a reality. Aside from Amazon, Facebook, Walmart, and Google are reportedly exploring the Blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to a great extent.

Japan still has to work to gain’s customers’ confidence

Although Rakuten’s announcement is a great leap for the crypto industry, there is always room for skepticism. A part of the country’s population couldn’t forget what happened to Coincheck and Mt. Gox. Just recently, the Bitpoint incident further worsened the injury. The impact of these adverse situations are still fresh, and Rakuten knows that a significant effort is needed to gain the confidence of skeptical clients.



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