E-commerce company Rakuten has become the latest major corporation to launch a cryptocurrency platform. Following its announcement, Rakuten Wallet service is now open for new account registration.
The firm, often referred to as “Japan’s Amazon”, is allowing customers of its Rakuten Bank service, or those with a Rakuten member ID to sign up for the new wallet service. Customers will subsequently be able to engage in crypto trading, as well as buy and sell in a range of as-yet unspecified cryptocurrencies.
There has even been the suggestion that the company could be preparing to launch a cryptocurrency of their own. This would then be used in Rakuten services and transacted through the wallet.
At the moment, there are no details on when the platform will open to public registrations. Therefore, the exact launch date remains unconfirmed. However, a public launch is likely near as the firm has already opened the service up to its existing customers.
Rakuten Wallet is the successor to Everybody’s Bitcoin, a trading and wallet service the company acquired in 2018. Everybody’s Bitcoin has since closed down. Instead, a Rakuten Wallet service account is now available for customers.
In an announcement, the company confirmed it would also be rolling out AI support, relying on machine learning technology to automate customer service enquiries. There are also plans on the horizon to launch a mobile app, thus enabling deposits and withdrawals on the go.
Rakuten is on the record as being bullish about cryptocurrencies in online payments. This is also one of the main envisaged use cases for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In August last year, the company said it believes “the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future.”
Describing the need for the exchange functionality in its wallet service, the company said this was a necessary element in making cryptocurrencies more an effective payment option for consumers.
“In order to provide cryptocurrency payment methods smoothly, we believe it is necessary for us to provide a cryptocurrency exchange function.”
The firm has been on board with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin for a number of years. In fact, it first decided to accept BTC payments back in 2015. The new wallet service is preparing to launch to the public over the coming weeks. Rakuten therefore looks set to embrace the technology further going forward.