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NEW YORK (InsideBitcoins) — After recently hinting at the idea of accepting bitcoin payments, Rakuten has now officially announced a plan to integrate Bitnet’s digital commerce platform and enable payments in the digital currency. Rakuten is Japan’s largest e-commerce website and one of the top five overall e-commerce companies in the world. Bitcoin payments will first go live on the company’s US e-commerce site, and a rollout plan for the rest of Rakuten’s online shopping portals is currently in the works. This move makes Rakuten one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world to accept bitcoin payments.
What are the benefits of bitcoin for Rakuten?
In their official press release, Rakuten noted that bitcoin will offer added benefits to both merchants and consumers on their ecommerce platform. On the consumer side, Rakuten will be able to offer “enhanced security, privacy, and convenience” when making online payments. For merchants, the benefits are more obvious. Anyone now selling products via Rakuten will be able to enjoy “instant global reach with no cross-border fees, no price volatility, and no fraud, risk, or chargebacks.” The lack of volatility risk implies that Rakuten merchants will have the ability to instantly convert bitcoin payments into the currency of their choice. Rakuten USA President Yaz Lida noted, “[Bitcoin] has the potential to benefit society by enhancing the security, privacy, and convenience of financial transactions.”
A global reach outside of Japan
American readers may have never heard of Rakuten, although the company did purchase the US-centric Buy.com in 2010. At a current market cap of $22.94 billion, Rakuten is one of the most highly-valued companies in the world to accept bitcoin payments. Alexa ranks Rakuten’s Japanese platform as the 73rd most visited website in the world. Here are a few comparisons to other online retailers who accept bitcoin when it comes to Alexa rankings: Overstock.com is ranked 567th, Newegg.com is ranked 302nd, and Dell.com is ranked 339th.
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