The move into cryptocurrency is not the company’s first foray into the digital assets ecosystem. Last year, Mercari launched different crypto-related offerings for customers.
Japanese e-commerce giant Mercari is set to become the first corporate institution to accept Bitcoin (BTC) for payments of goods and services in 2024, starting in June.
According to local news media outlet Nikkei, the payments will be facilitated through Mercari’s Tokyo-based subsidiary, Melcoin. The company is primarily focused on providing blockchain development services to its customers.
Mercari’s Unit Melcoin to Facilitate Bitcoin Payments
The crypto-focused company, which operates separately from Mercari, will display the price of items on the fleet market in the Japanese local currency yen instead of BTC. Still, users will have the option to pay with the crypto asset.
Melcoin, acting as an intermediary between shoppers and Mercari, will convert BTC to yen for sellers after buyers purchase items with the crypto asset.
The transaction fees required for converting BTC to yen will be comparable to those attached to fiat currency transactions. However, the exact fee structure for users remains uncertain.
Mercari emphasized that integrating BTC as a payment method aligns with its business expansion plans, enabling global users to explore the fleet market and purchase items without relying on their local currencies.
Not the First Foray into Crypto
The move into cryptocurrency is not the company’s first foray into the digital assets ecosystem. Last year, the company launched different crypto-related offerings for customers.
In March 2023, the online retail company unveiled its digital asset trading platform named “Mercari Bitcoin” for crypto trading services. However, the platform is dedicated to trading only BTC, and users can purchase the crypto asset directly with their bank accounts.
Additionally, the company launched its loyalty program, which is crypto-centric. Users are allowed to exchange their points for BTC on the platform. Sellers can also use the proceeds from selling activities on the fleet market to acquire the crypto asset.
Mercari was launched in 2013 and has grown into a reputable second-hand online market for retailers in Japan with a strong presence in the United States. So far, the company has expanded its business offerings to the international market with a particular focus on Europe.
In 2018, the company gained recognition as one of Japan’s largest consumer-to-consumer e-commerce platforms, with a 94% usage rate.
Last year, Mercari disclosed that it has over 22 million active monthly users who frequent the online fleet market to purchase their required items, including women’s fashion, electronics, toys, and collectibles.
According to its latest financial earnings report, the company generated 44.27 billion yen in revenue during the third quarter of 2023. The figure rose 11.2% increase year-on-year.
Similarly, on a monthly basis, the company generated 2.8 billion yen in profit for the same period last year compared to the 555 million yen it earned in 2022.
Meanwhile, the favorable crypto environment in Japan has played a pivotal role in enabling e-commerce platforms to emerge as conduits for widespread digital asset adoption within the country.
Aside from Mercari, another e-commerce giant, Rakuten has long embraced the emerging economy, introducing different crypto-related initiatives. The company also permits users to convert loyalty points into other digital assets aside from BTC and has currently ventured into developing its native non-fungible token (NFT) platform.