Rakuten’s CEO Hiroshi Mikitani has announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the Japanese e-commerce giant will launch its own krypo currencies. The Japanese Amazon rival wants to convert its current loyalty program into a blockchain-based system. A start date has not yet been announced.
As Techcrunch reports, the cryptocurrency will be called “Rakuten Coin” and replace the current “Super Points” in the Loyalty Program. Currently, the Super Points can be earned on every online purchase or collected in certain markets. Rakuten’s loyalty program has existed for over 15 years. During this time, about 9.1 billion US dollars were spent in Super Points as a reward for purchasing at Rakuten.
The Rakuten company network also includes the subsidiaries Ebates, PriceMinister and Viber. All companies in total had over one billion users worldwide and over $ 8.8 billion in sales last year.
The message from Rakuten joins other world-famous companies, such as Kodak and Atari, who want to develop their own cryptocurrency. Of course, the current wave of euphoria in terms of blockchain technology also plays an important role.
Presumably, Rakuten wants to achieve (at least) two goals with the decision. Firstly, it can be assumed that the company would like to offer its customers a better shopping experience, for example by B. exchange rate fees eliminated.
On the other hand, it certainly wants to achieve stronger customer loyalty and new customers. Crypto enthusiasts who have never bought from Rakuten before could do so (instead of Amazon) at Rakuten just to get free Rakuten Coins under the Loyalty Program. Existing customers who have previously read only from crypto currencies, could get a first contact with it and be bound by potential price gains even more to the company.
It is currently unclear whether Rakuten Coin will run on its own blockchain developed by the company or whether it will be based on another blockchain, such as Ethereum, NEO or NEM.
In 2016, Rakuten acquired the Bitcoin payment service provider Bitnet. The announcement of the Rakuten Coin is therefore certainly also a result of the acquisition of Bitnet and the experience and knowledge thereof.