Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten on Tuesday said that it will launch its own cryptocurrency, dubbed ‘Rakuten Coin’, allowing users to redeem their points of the company’s existing loyalty program, Rakuten Super Points.
According to a TechCrunch report, Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani spoke about the idea at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where he described the new asset as a “borderless currency”.
Customers using the new cryptocurrency will enjoy the benefit of being able to earn and use Rakuten Super Points, also allowing them to use their points on more than 70 services within the Rakuten ecosystem.
Rakuten.com runs the fourth largest e-commerce business, trailing only behind Alibaba, eBay and Amazon.
The sheer liquidity of Rakuten’s loyalty scheme is another area where the program stands out. Rakuten members can earn and use points not only across its different services in Japan, but also at thousands of other locations across the country.
Launched over 15 years ago, the rewards program allows users to earn one point for every 100 yen spent on the site.
We don’t know all the details of this plan yet, including the launch date, but it seems that Rakuten aims to increase sales transactions through eliminating exchange rate fees for buyers overseas.
The move comes nearly two years after the e-retailer acquired Bitcoin payments startup Bitnet and opened a blockchain lab in the UK., becoming one of the more noteworthy firms in the Asia-Pacific region to hop on the cryptocurrency bandwagon.
(Photo: Toomore Chiang, via flickr)