Rakuten, Japan’s largest online retail firm, has announced that it will soon accept bitcoin across its global marketplaces.
The company is putting its investment in Bitnet — a startup that raised $14.5 million last October — to work with this development. Bitnet, which was founded by ex-Visa execs and is rivaled by Coinbase and Bitpay, will initially be integrated into Rakuten’s US marketplace to allow customers to pay in BTC.
Next up, the new payment option will roll out in German and Austria, with other international markets to follow. Interestingly, there’s no specific mention of when Bitnet will be integrated into Rakuten Japan, which is the most prominent of its 12 country-specific services.
Last year was a breakthrough year for bitcoin as a sea of established retailers, including the likes of Dell, Overstock and even Microsoft, hopped onto the cryptocurrency to give customers an alternative avenue for payments.