Japanese E-Commerce Giant Rakuten To Launch Cryptocurrency In Russia In 2019

News | July 4, 2018 By:

Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency in Russia.

In February of this year, Rakuten announced its plans to launch Rakuten Coin, which promises to create a “borderless” shopping experience and allow the customer base to purchase goods and services from other Rakuten offerings and regions. At the time, Rakuten CEO Hiroshi Mikitani said the cryptocurrency would be built on blockchain technology and linked to the company’s existing loyalty program, Rakuten Super Points.

According to Russian news outlet TASS, Rakuten is now planning to launch Rakuten Coin in Russia in 2019, and is currently studying Russian laws on cryptocurrencies. The e-commerce giant will reportedly use Viber, a cross-platform instant messaging and voice-over IP application operated by Rakuten, as a platform for its cryptocurrency.

“Our mother company is creating Rakuten Coin: cryptocurrency, which is supported by the entire Rakuten ecosystem,” said Viber CEO Djamel Agaoua. “The cryptocurrency can be launched in Russia in 2019. This Rakuten Coin will be tradeable in Viber. The cryptocurrency will appear in the Viber wallet and it can be exchanged for rubles, dollars and euros. Company’s specialists are currently studying Russian laws in the cryptocurrency sphere. Very soon you’ll be able to send some Rakuten Coins and to trade Rakuten Coins against rubles, dollars, and euros. The cryptocurrency exchange for rubles and transfers to bank accounts will depend on Russian laws.”

In addition to instant messaging, Viber allows users to exchange media such as images and videorecords. The software was originally developed by Israel-based Viber Media, which was bought by Rakuten in 2014. The messaging app has more than 900 million active users worldwide. In 2016, Viber surpassed WhatsApp in Russia, with 70 million users. By 2018, Viber had reached 100 million users in Russia.

Earlier this year, the Russian parliament approved the first reading of new laws regulating the crypto industry. The bill makes the distinction between a digital token and a cryptocurrency based on the number of producers, one person versus several persons (miners), respectively.