20Rakuten, the Tokyo-based technology giant is expanding the functionality of its payments app, Rakuten Pay, which is likely to integrate cryptocurrencies. The company revealed the upcoming update in its latest earnings report.
According to the report, the new version of the app will feature “all payment solutions embedded into one platform”.
Consumers in Japan are spending more through mobile applications than ever before, and once the new version goes live in March 2019, users will benefit from considerable changes – perhaps an inclusion of cryptocurrency support – although it is unclear what type of functionality will be included.
Rakuten is noted for supporting crypto, and last year they announced the launch of their own cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin, which has become the native currency of the group’s messaging platform, Viber, and of its community loyalty program. In March 2015, its American portal started to accept Bitcoin payments and last August, it acquired Japanese crypto exchange Minnano Bitcoin (formerly “Everybody’s Bitcoin”) in a $2.4 million deal. The acquisition was in response to a growing demand from Rakuten Securities customers, particularly foreign exchange traders, who were calling for a cryptocurrency exchange service.
Crypto-Based Payments Are Growing
At the time, the company said that they expected that the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and P2P payments would grow. “In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function”.
Often touted as “the Amazon of Japan” the company operates Japan’s biggest internet bank and number one credit card company. Their broad range of online and offline services offer e-commerce, fintech, securities, insurance, digital content and communications services and even professional sports to people all over the world.
In its earnings release, Rakuten reported a net income for 2018 of about $1.3 billion, a 28.4 percent year-over-year increase from 2017. The company states that its more than 1.2 billion members are what make it strong. And if those 1.2 billion start using cryptocurrencies, it could be the beginning of the bullish market sentiment that the crypto space has been waiting for.
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