In 2016, the Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten acquired Bitcoin-Bitnet wallet, which he had previously invested in, and organized his own blockchain-lab. One of the first achievements of this transaction is the launch of its own Rakuten Coin cryptocurrency, which transfers the bonus program Rakuten Super Points to the blockchain. The date of issuance of the new cryptocurrency is not yet known.
About the creation of “boundless currency” announced CEO Rakuten Hiroshi Mikitani during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company expects that this way it will attract more customers around the world, reducing commissions, including in the exchange of currencies. But first of all this innovation is called upon to revitalize the Rakuten loyalty program, which consumers will now regard as a “contribution to the blockchain.”
Over 15 years of the Super Points bonus program, more than a trillion “super-points” have been credited, which equals to $ 9.1 billion, and now users will have more opportunities to apply their savings. Rakuten Coin is planned to be introduced on all the company’s subsidiaries, including the French trading platform PriceMinister, which is currently rebranded and will be renamed Rakuten, and the American cashback service Ebates, acquired by the company for $ 1 billion in 2014.
Mikitani stressed that Rakuten “is very different from Amazon”: “Our task is to recreate the network of trading businesses. We do not want to detach them from customers, but, on the contrary, we strive to be a catalyst. Our philosophy is to give power into the hands of society, and not just to provide material benefits. ” Also in the company note that “people want certain things that can not be got anywhere else”. Only in the Japanese market Rakuten unites about 44,000 stores, numbering billions of users around the world, and the company’s revenue for 2017 was $ 8.8 billion.
During his speech at the Mobile World Congress, Mikitani told about other plans of the company. In particular, to further expand the loyalty program, Rakuten expects to become a full-fledged mobile operator and is preparing to apply with the corresponding application to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan (since 2014, Rakuten is a virtual cellular operator under the Rakuten Mobile brand). Also, the service will increase its activity in its own messenger Viber, which already today has a billion registered users. Perhaps the experience of creating your own blockchain and cryptocurrency will be transferred to the messenger. Considering the similar plans of Telegram, in the near future the main financial market will be not banks, but instant messengers.
Write: Richard Abermann