While the Cryptocurrency market is going through a slowdown, big companies are taking the advantage of this bear markets for big buyouts in the industry. Rakuten, Japan’s leading e-commerce giant announces it plans to out a Tokyo crypto exchange.
Everybody’s Bitcoin, a Tokyo based crypto exchange was established in December 2016 and by March the following year, it was launched in Japan. The exchange is currently not listed in the approved licensed exchanges that Japan’s Financial Services Agency permits to operate and itself was subject to an FSA probe following Coincheck’s hack in January. The official announcement by Rakuten stated:
“The acquisition is based on a stock purchase agreement between Rakuten Card Co., Ltd. and Traders Investment, Inc. which is the parent company of Everybody’s Bitcoin.”
Effective on October 1, the acquisition is worth around $2.4 million, 265 million Yen including all of the firm’s 5,100 shares. The Rakuten Group consists of 70 businesses operates Japan’s biggest internet bank and third-largest credit card company by transaction value. The largest e-commerce site in the country, Rakuten Ichiba, is also operated by the firm. The firm’s services extend to travel and leisure, digital content, insurance and communications and financial technology.
The firm also established the Rakuten Blockchain Lab, based in Belfast in 2016. For the current acquisition, the company cites the growing demand for crypto services from existing foreign exchange customers as a catalyst
“In addition, a growing number of customers, in particular foreign exchange customers, of Rakuten Securities, the securities company of the Rakuten Group, have been calling for the provision of a cryptocurrency exchange service, which is also part of the background of the Rakuten Group considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry.”
Since 2015, the firm has been accepting Bitcoin payments, when it integrated its U.S. online portal with Bitnet, a leading Bitcoin payment processing firm. Earlier this year, the firm offered its own loyalty based cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin. This buyout is the latest in a long line of Rakuten acquisitions stretching back over a decade which includes a $100 million investment in Pinterest in 2012, Viber Media (messaging app) in 2014, and Bitcoin wallet startup Bitnet in 2016.
While the crypto markets are overshadowed by bearish activities, Japan continues to foray regardless.