Rakuten announced Rakuten Coin at MWC 2018

Japanese market giant made it first into cryptocurrency world unlike its rival Amazon
27 February 2018   621

Today at MWC 2018 in Barcelona Japanese online retail behemoth Rakuten announced it's launching Rakuten Coin - its own native cryptocurrency. The initial purpose is Rakuten's loyalty program. Built on blockchain by means of its acquired blockchain startup Bitnet back in 2016, the company hopes to boost the interest on Rakuten Super Points loyalty program and encourage customers to spend those points across various Rakuten services and markets globally.

Naturally, because the initiative is blockchain backed, Rakuten tries to get rid of third party handlers and operators, thus cutting fees of purchases and delivery. With this in mind, Rakuten indirectly aims to drive more purchases as customers are encouraged to collect and spend loyalty points. Aside from retail business, Rakuten has its own MVNO mobile service that hopefully will turn into a full-fledged operator in the near future. This service is another potential use case of spending loyalty points.

Another minor goal of introducing company's own token is to attract more publicity to the blockchain world and cryptocurrency in particular. Especially in the perspective of Amazon yet to present anything viable on the table in terms of blockchain-related product. But recent event like domain purchase and partnership with Corda hints that Amazon is preparing something intriguing.

Basically, our concept is to recreate the network of retailers and merchants. We do not want to disconnect [them from their customers] but function as a catalyst. That is our philosophy, how to empower society not just provide more convenience.


Hiroshi “Mickey” Mikitani

Rakuten’s CEO

Bakkt to be Launched in December

It is also reported that Goldman Sachs does not plan to create custodial cryptocurrency solutions based on the Bakkt infrastructure
19 October 2018   96

The expected launch of the Bakkt will take place on December 12 of this year. It is reported by The Block, citing informed sources.

Also, the material states that the investment bank Goldman Sachs does not plan to create custodial cryptocurrency solutions based on the Bakkt infrastructure. At the same time, the bank is considering the possibility of trading futures on a new platform.

In a recent Fortune interview with Bakkt, Kelly Lofler said that the cryptocurrency market is on the verge of a revolution comparable in size to the one that occurred on the energy market in the early 2000s.

Greater institutional participation in the digital asset markets requires secure and regulated custody solutions. We are impressed by BitGo’s product, unique services, and the management team. We view our investment in BitGo as an exciting opportunity to contribute to the evolution of this critical market infrastructure.

Rana Yared

Managing director, Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investments group

Bakkt is a cryptocurrency unit of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which is the operator of the New York Stock Exchange. Giants such as Microsoft and Starbucks are taking part in creating of the new project, which is positioned as an “ecosystem for digital assets”.

The new platform will offer deliverable bitcoin futures to the market (unlike the settlement contracts for CBOE and CME, these are based on the underlying asset). The platform will support multiple fiat currencies.