Retail Giant Rakuten to Buy Crypto Exchange for $2.4 million

The announcement comes around four month since the crypto exchange was issued a business improvement order by the Japanese financial regulators.

Photo: influenZia marketing / Flickr

Photo: influenZia marketing / Flickr

The Japan-based e-commerce giant Rakuten has announced plans to acquire the local cryptocurrency exchange called Everybody’s Bitcoin. The acquisition, Rakuten noted, is a result of an increased demand from foreign exchange customers of Rakuten Securities, the securities division of the Rakuten Group.

The purchase will be based on share purchase agreement between Rakuten’s subsidiary, Takuten Card, and the exchange’s parent company, Traders Investment. The price of the acquisition, which is set to complete within a month, is 265 million yen, or $2.4 million.

“In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function,” Rakuten said. Moreover, it believes that “the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”

Launched in March, 2017, Everybody’s Bitcoin is still awaiting an approval for official registration. In April, 2018, the Kanto Local Finance Bureau imposed administrative sanctions against the exchange following an inspection by Japan’s Financial Services Agency which discovered a number of problems regarding anti-money laundering prevention, appropriate verification at the internal audit, problems with keeping statutory books, and the lack of control over system risks.

Under the business improvement order, the platform had to improve its business operations through the establishment of management control systems, building a management system related to user protection measures, the creation of bookkeeping management system, the establishment of a risk management system and an outsourcing management system.

Rakuten decided to purchase the trading platform to complete Everybody’s Bitcoin’s registration as an official crypto exchange and grow its digital currency services business by combining everybody’s bitcoin’s expertise in cryptocurrency exchange services and an experience of Rakuten Group in the field of financial services.

“Everybody’s Bitcoin aims to register officially as a cryptocurrency exchange, and in order to further promote its cryptocurrency business, it decided to expand the business under the Rakuten Group to maximize synergies,” Rakuten wrote in a statement.

The acquisition is not the first move by Rakuten to enter the cryptocurrency sphere. Earlier this year, the company issued its own digital currency that is based on the blockchain technology and will be used as a part of the company’s loyalty rewards system Rakuten Super Points.

Called Rakuten Coin, the cryptocurrency was developed to help customers make purchases across Rakuten’s services and markets. Just a month ago, the company unveiled plans to make the coin available across the Viber network, which is owned by Rakuten, in 2019.

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