Japanese e-commerce retail giant Rakuten has announced its foray into the cryptocurrency sector with its acquisition of crypto exchange ‘Everybody’s Bitcoin’ in a ¥265 million ($2.4 million) deal.
In an announcement on Friday, the company revealed details of its 100% share acquisition of Tokyo-based crypto exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin through its subsidiary Rakuten Card. The share transfer agreement was concluded today, ahead of the stock acquisition that concludes the deal on October 1.
Rakuten, Japan’s biggest online retail giant, said it expected cryptocurrency payments in e-commerce as well as offline retail and peer-to-peer payments to “grow in the future” and had been planning to enter the sector as a conglomerate.
“In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function, and have been considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry as the Rakuten Group.”
Notably, Rakuten further revealed that a growing number of customers using its securities services, particularly in foreign exchange, “have been calling for the provision of a cryptocurrency exchange.” The company underlined the demand as another factor for its entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry.
As reported by CCN in 2015, Rakuten was among the earliest major global e-commerce marketplaces to implement bitcoin payments.
“Rakuten Group decided to acquire everybody’s bitcoin shares so that it can realize the early registration as a cryptocurrency exchange and develop cryptocurrency services to customers by combining the know-how of everybody’s bitcoin as a cryptocurrency exchange, and the know-how of Rakuten Group as a provider of various financial services,” the company said today.
The acquisition represents a turnaround of fortunes for Everybody’s Bitcoin. Launched in March 2017, the unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange that slapped by a business improvement order following an on-site inspection by the Financial Services Agency (FSA), Japan’s financial regulator, in April this year.
Everybody’s Bitcoin is “working to implement improvements” and plans to “register officially” with the FSA, Rakuten added.
The FSA increased its scrutiny into the sector following an infamous $530 million theft of cryptocurrency from Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck in January. Coincheck was acquired in a ¥3.6 billion ($33.5 million) deal by Japanese online brokerage Monex within three months of the theft.