Rakuten.com (formerly Buy.com), one of the oldest shopping sites on the web, has announced that it will begin accepting Bitcoin payments today using Bitnet. Rakuten.com is similar to Amazon in that it serves as a platform for multiple merchants, all of whom will be able to accept Bitcoin now thanks to the partnership with Bitnet. The company’s executives were enthusiastic about the move, with President Fumio Kobayashi saying:
“Bitcoin turned the Internet into a secure, seamless global payment network. By integrating with Bitnet we are now offering consumers the industry standard in secure payments, and our merchants will benefit by receiving guaranteed payments.”
To encourage Bitcoin users to try out their website, and potentially to encourage users to try out Bitcoin, Rakuten is offering a discount of $30 if you spend over $100 for a full week – from April 1st to April 8th, 2015. Presumably, the cost of this promotion is being covered by the company itself, rather than the merchants. Such a promotion has the potential to get folks who might otherwise not have ever looked into Bitcoin to investigate it as a payment protocol.
Bitnet, the company formed by former Visa employees who saw the potential of Bitcoin and put traded secure futures for the great unknown, has been making waves lately. They recently announced a partnership with Cardinal Commerce, a major legacy payment processor which specializes in alternative payment methods.
The way that Bitnet approaches the industry differently is they don’t necessarily try to compete with existing payment processors head on. Rather, they have developed their system so that it can be integrated with those of existing payment platforms.
According to the press release from Bitnet:
The integration with Bitnet’s platform will make Rakuten.com one of the most secure ecommerce marketplaces. Rakuten.com merchants will immediately see the benefits of using a digital currency, including guaranteed payment, instant global reach with no cross-border fees, no price volatility, and no fraud, risk or chargebacks, all for a transaction fees less than that of credit cards. Rakuten.com shoppers will instantly benefit from full consumer protection, including multi-sig escrow services for high-value items.
Of course, the benefits of Bitcoin are well-known to many of our readers. The real story here is that adoption, which some analysts believe will be the true metric of Bitcoin’s success as a currency, is on track to be more widespread this year than any year previous. Bitcoin is a low-cost option which is not overly expensive to maintain, and this means that merchants have no incentive to stop accepting it later on, whereas with brick and mortar businesses you sometimes see them stop accepting credit cards and install an ATM machine instead.
Bitnet CEO John McDonnell said:
“At Bitnet we built security into the DNA of our platform. Our approach to security is designed to protect both shoppers and merchants. We’re excited to join with Rakuten.com in offering the most secure and seamless global payment network that can be enjoyed by both merchants and shoppers.”