Report: Enterprise bitcoin payments processor Bitnet in talks to sell IP to Rakuten

Enterprise bitcoin payments processor Bitnet Technologies Ltd. looks set to be possibly leaving the bitcoin payment industry, with a report that it is in the process of selling its intellectual property assets to Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, Inc.

The Wall Street Journal claims to have seen a memo related to the deal, and that Rakuten is considering using Bitnet’s assets to continue testing and developing blockchain technologies.

Of note, Rakuten currently uses Bitnet to accept bitcoin payments across its e-commerce platforms and holds a minority stake in the company through a previous investment.

Founded in 2013, Bitnet provides a digital commerce platform that allows enterprise-scale merchants to accept bitcoin payments.

In addition to offering payment solutions, the company also offers a variety of other services, including blockchain digital asset management, blockchain consulting, and B2B cross-border remittances.

Bitnet’s blockchain digital asset management platform offers a stack which simplifies the issuance and management of multiple asset types using the Open Asset Protocol to “color” a tiny amount of bitcoin and create a new digital asset that inherits bitcoin characteristics; the platform is said to allow for the easy delivery of custom applications that provide domain-specific rules and behavior.

Examples of how the platform can be used include the issue of tamper-proof tickets for a show, management of loyalty programs, or for even tracking the ownership and transfer of shares.

Blockchain buy

While Bitnet’s primary, front-facing product is its enterprise e-commerce bitcoin payment platform, Rakuten is more likely interested in the blockchain digital asset management platform, given bitcoin processing firms are a dime-a-dozen whereas innovative blockchain solutions are the main source of interest for many in the fintech and e-commerce fields going forward.

Bitnet itself doesn’t detail how many customers have used its blockchain digital asset platform previously, suggesting that the answer may be not many, making an intellectual property buy even more appealing for Rakuten.

Given it’s an IP buy, it’s not clear whether Bitnet would continue to trade, perhaps licensing back rights to its previous technology, or will simply cease trading should the acquisition price be right.

Prior to this deal Bitnet has raised $14.5 million over two rounds from investors, including ARTIS Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Buchanan Investments, Commerce Ventures, Digital Currency Group, Highland Capital Partners, Stephens Investment Management, Webb Investment Network, WSM Capital LLC and of course Rakuten itself.

Image credit: Bitnet.
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Duncan Riley

Duncan Riley

Duncan Riley is a senior writer at SiliconANGLE covering Startups, Bitcoin, and the Internet of Things.

Duncan is a co-founder of VC funded media company B5Media and founder of news site The Inquisitr, and was a senior writer at TechCrunch in its earlier days.

Tips? Press releases? Intersting startup? email: or contact Duncan on Twitter @duncanriley

Duncan Riley


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