Online mall Rakuten to accept bitcoin in US, Germany

Rakuten hasn't decided yet on integrating bitcoin into its large Japanese site

Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten will become the latest online shopping mall to take bitcoin, with its services in the U.S., Germany and Austria accepting the digital currency.

The Amazon.com rival said Tuesday that it will use payments software from Bitnet, which Rakuten helped launch last year as a potential competitor to payment firms such as Bitpay and Coinbase.

The announcement follows comments last month by Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani that the e-commerce site would likely accept the digital money.

It makes Rakuten one of the largest online malls to accept bitcoin and will benefit online merchants with "no cross-border fees, no price volatility, and no fraud, risk or chargebacks," the company said in a release.

"We believe that bitcoin will support our mission of empowering the world through the Internet by helping our merchants compete better globally, but it also has the potential to benefit society by enhancing the security, privacy and convenience of financial transactions," a Rakuten spokesman said via email.

The company is considering various options for accepting bitcoin on its Japanese site but nothing has been decided, the spokesman added.

The biggest e-commerce site in Japan, Rakuten was founded in 1997 and now claims 97 million users in the country, which is over 75 percent of the population. While diversifying from online sales into financial, Internet and travel services as well as professional sports, it has embarked on a shopping spree in recent years to grow its user base into the billions and better compete with Amazon by adding infrastructure.

In 2012, Rakuten acquired Canadian e-reader firm Kobo. Last year, it bought messaging app Viber for US$900 million, as well as cash-back shopping website Ebates for $1 billion.

Its other acquisitions include Spanish video service Wuaki.tv, Viki, a digital content platform, logistics firm Webgistix and Buy.com.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesRakuteninternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?