Rakuten relaunches crypto exchange, wallet under new license

Japanese retail giant Rakuten has been awarded a license to operate a cryptocurrency exchange, after relaunching its exchange service as Rakuten Wallet. The e-commerce group has said the new service will replace their previous operation, Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc. which was acquired by the firm in August 2018.

The news was announced by Japan’s Financial Services Agency this week, confirming the new exchange had been registered as a virtual currency exchange service provider with the Kanto Local Financial Bureau.

The registration was also confirmed by Rakuten in a separate statement, which said the exchange was now authorized under the country’s Payment Services Act. According to the firm, the new service will allow more customers to access virtual currency services.

It noted, “Rakuten Wallet will contribute to the sound growth of the market as a virtual currency exchange company and will further enhance security and provide enhanced services so that more customers can use it safely and with confidence.”

Everybody’s Bitcoin had been regulated as a “deemed” cryptocurrency exchange since March 2017, under a license issued at the time.

The company was handed a business improvement order from the Kanto Local Financial Bureau in early 2018, with Rakuten confirmed it had upgraded management systems and internal processes ahead of the relaunch as Rakuten Wallet.

The news sees Rakuten become the latest major global company to launch a crypto wallet and exchange service, following in the footsteps of companies like Kik, Line, KakaoTalk.

There is no suggestion yet as to which cryptocurrencies will be offered by the new wallet service, though there have been calls for Bitcoin SV (BSV) to be supported as the most convenient, effective solution for payments.

The filings were lodged under the country’s updated Payment Services Act, which oversees much of the regulation around cryptocurrencies in Japan.

As one of the most proactive jurisdictions in terms of regulating cryptocurrencies and exchange operators, the licensing scheme in Japan is being monitored by other countries in the region, as well as those further afield.

With Rakuten Wallet now officially recognized as a licensed virtual currency exchange service provider, it remains to be seen how this integrates within the existing Rakuten retail platforms.

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