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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetInternet-based applications and servicesRakuten

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

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?