Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten may soon accept Bitcoin

Rakuten, the conglomerate operating the largest e-commerce site in Japan and one of the largest in the world, may soon accept Bitcoin, based on comments made by CEO Hiroshi Mikitani.

If they follow through, they would rank right behind DISH among the largest companies to accept Bitcoin. Rakuten has close to 11,000 employees and trades on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. It has a market cap of 1.82 trillion yen, the equivalent of roughly $18 billion. But unlike other publicly traded companies accepting Bitcoin, they have been profitable.

In 2012, their revenues were reported to be $4.6 billion. By comparison, Overstock.com posted $1.3 billion in 2013.

The conglomerate bought out other e-commerce sites from outside of Japan, including buy.com, Priceminister, Ikeda, Tradoria, Play.com, Wuaki.tv and Kobo.

Aside from e-commerce, the conglomerate also engages in banking services, media, travel and hotel booking, securities brokerage, professional sports and entertainment.

Their ambitious string of takeovers also reached outside of the e-commerce realm. This year alone, they acquired the Viber VOIP service and DC Storm, a UK marketing technology company.

Particularly fitting for the theme of Bitcoin is their facilitation of US-based e-tailers who don’t even have a bank account, address or entity registered in Japan.

(Photo: Rakuten)

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