One of the largest global online marketplaces will start accepting bitcoins

March 17, 2015 02:26 PM

One of the largest online marketplaces announced it will begin accepting bitcoin payments on its U.S., German, and Austrian sites.

Tokyo-based Rakuten Inc. is working with digital commerce platform Bitnet to allow shoppers on its sites around the world to pay using the decentralized digital currency bitcoin. The move comes days after it was announced that Rakuten is investing $300 million in on-demand ride-sharing app Lyft. Shopping is No. 46 in the  Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide, while Rakuten Inc. is No. 20 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Asia 500.

Rakuten says it wants to give shoppers more payment options.

“[Bitcoins] have the potential to benefit society by enhancing the security, privacy and convenience of financial transactions,” says Yaz Iida, president of Rakuten USA.

Rakuten did not say when or if it plans on incorporating Bitnet or bitcoin payments into the other marketplace sites it operates around the world.

 Rakuten is the latest major e-commerce company to begin accepting bitcoin as a payment option. Late last year, Inc. (No. 31) announced it would be doing so as a means to appeal to international shoppers.

"Bitcoin has been readily adopted in countries outside the United States, yet the opportunities to spend bitcoin internationally are extremely limited," Overstock CEO Patrick M. Byrne said at the time. "We're pleased to offer this service to the millions of bitcoin users in other countries and believe they will respond enthusiastically.”




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