Bitcoin just got another big fan in the eCommerce world — Japan’s largest online retailer. Rakuten announced yesterday (March 17) that it would begin accepting bitcoin as a payment option across its marketplaces using Bitnet’s payment platform.
Rakuten’s bitcoin acceptance will start first on Rakuten.com in the U.S., then on Rakuten.de in Germany and Rakuten.at in Austria. There was no indication if, or when, bitcoin would be a payment option for Rakuten’s Japanese marketplace as Japan has been looking to crack down on bitcoin. Through its marketing efforts about bitcoin, Rakuten highlighted what it believes to be positive features of the digital currency, which included security, privacy and convenience. Merchants can also use the digital currency option as a way to avoid cross-border fees, the company said.
“Rakuten’s mission is to empower the world through the Internet,” said Yaz Iida, president of Rakuten USA. “Not only can bitcoin support this vision by helping our merchants better compete globally, but it also has the potential to benefit society by enhancing the security, privacy, and convenience of financial transactions. This is one of the reasons why we invested in Bitnet last year and we look forward to working with them on our U.S. marketplace.”
Bitcoin’s acceptance on another eCommerce marketplace means bitcoin adoption may be gaining traction — even if it’s only one company at a time. That’s certainly a start for the digital currency that’s been plagued with bad press in the past year.
“Rakuten’s global marketplaces are great examples of how digital currencies can impact global commerce,” said Bitnet CEO John McDonnell. “We’re excited to join with Rakuten in helping both merchants and shoppers reap the benefits of this new technology.”