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This Japanese E-Commerce Site Will Soon Be Accepting Bitcoin

Last Updated January 8, 2024 3:55 PM
Josh Adams
Last Updated January 8, 2024 3:55 PM
Key Takeaways
  • Japan was one of the first countries to recognize the potential of cryptocurrency.
  • Two of its biggest online retailers have integrated crypto features on their platforms.
  • Now Mercari, which boasts 22 million active monthly users, will allow payments in Bitcoin.

Japanese e-commerce platform Mercari  has announced plans to enable Bitcoin (BTC) payments on its marketplace app starting in June this year. The company will facilitate Bitcoin transactions through its cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary Mercoin, based in Tokyo. While marketplace prices are listed in yen, customers will have the option to pay with Bitcoin at checkout.

Mercari Previously Launched an Exchange Function in 2023

According to a recent Nikkei report, Mercoin will convert the Bitcoin to yen before transferring the funds to sellers, so vendors receive payments in fiat currency. The report notes that Mercoin  intends to charge comparable fees to those on credit card and bank transfer purchases made through Mercari’s marketplace.

In March 2023, Mercari launched its own cryptocurrency exchange feature within its e-commerce app. This functionality allows Mercari users to purchase Bitcoin using their account balances from Mercari marketplace sales, bank account funds or loyalty points earned on the app. The company has connected its e-commerce platform and Bitcoin exchange service via this closed loop system.

As one of the largest consumer-to-consumer online marketplaces in Japan, Mercari attracts over 22 million active monthly users. The Mercari app is widely regarded for its simplicity and convenience in buying and selling. In its latest earnings report, the company posted 2.8 billion yen (approximately $19.4 million) in profit for the third quarter of 2023. 

Integrating Bitcoin aligns with Mercari’s focus on digital payments and caters to its significant Japanese user base, many of whom already utilize cryptocurrency. Bitcoin advocates hope that Mercari accepting the cryptocurrency will further boost its mainstream acceptance and reputation.

Big Brands Are Helping Push Crypto Adoption

Mercari is not the first Japanese e-commerce company to enter crypto. Rival e-commerce firm Rakuten also operates its own cryptocurrency exchange and non-fungible token (NFT) platform. It launched its crypto exchange service in 2019, and its NFT platform in 2022. In Japan, crypto-assets are lightly regulated, a fact that has helped boost the sector.

These integrations look could be improving cryptocurrency adoption, according to new data. A survey  of 30,000 Japanese people aged between 20 and 69 found only 11% of consumers had used a crypto exchange before 2023. 

However, 1,728 respondents began using exchanges in 2023, overwhelmingly choosing services from commerce giants Mercari and Rakuten. Of new 2022 crypto traders, 24.7% opted for Mercari’s Bitcoin Trading app and 24.2% picked Rakuten Wallet. This suggests that major firms’ crypto products have the potential to attract crypto newcomers.

 

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