JAN 9, 2024
Japanese e-commerce giant Mercari planning bitcoin payments
Mercari, one of Japan's leading e-commerce platforms, has declared its intention to accept bitcoin payments starting from June of this year.
The decision, which was reported by Japanese financial media outlet Nikkei on Friday, outlines that the processing of bitcoin payments will be managed through Mercari's Tokyo-based crypto subsidiary, Melcoin.
Seamless BTC conversion
It's noteworthy that Melcoin will convert all BTC payments into yen, ensuring vendors receive fiat currency despite the buyer's choice of bitcoin for payment. While the company won't display prices in bitcoin, listing items for sale in fiat yen, customers will have the option to select BTC as a payment method during the purchase process on the platform.
In recent months, Mercari has introduced various crypto-related products, including the Mercari bitcoin crypto trading service. This service allows users to buy and sell bitcoin using the proceeds from their sales on the platform. The integration of a loyalty points system further enhances the crypto trading experience, enabling Mercari users to exchange their points for bitcoin.
Remarkably, Mercari announced that its bitcoin trading service surpassed the 1 million user milestone in October, just seven months after its launch. At the time of the launch of the trading service, the company outlined that it would “make bitcoin more accessible to people who have never tried crypto trading before.”
Notably, around 80% of the crypto users on Mercari had no prior experience with crypto-asset trading in June of the previous year. Expanding its crypto-related offering to include bitcoin payments unleashes much more potential relative to crypto adoption.
22 million monthly users
Established in 2013, Mercari has evolved into Japan's largest community marketplace platform, boasting 22 million monthly users as of July 2023. It’s a flea market application, making it a consumer-to-consumer platform that could play a significant role in bringing about bitcoin adoption in Japan among ordinary people. The company has also expanded its footprint internationally, with a particular focus on Europe.
Market observers have labeled Mercari's crypto service, along with a competitor operated by Rakuten, as a potential "gateway" for bitcoin and crypto investors and traders. Rakuten, another major Japanese e-commerce platform deeply involved in the crypto space for an extended period, operates the Rakuten Wallet crypto trading service. Like Mercari, Rakuten has integrated its loyalty points program with its crypto arm, allowing users to trade their points for crypto-assets. Rakuten had also emerged last year among a shortlist of Asian companies expressing an interest in purchasing failed crypto exchange FTX.
A recent survey highlighted the growing influence of these e-commerce giants in the crypto space. Japanese individuals who entered the coin trading scene towards the end of 2022 overwhelmingly favored either Mercari's bitcoin trading app (24.7%) or Rakuten's Rakuten Wallet platform (24.2%). This revelation dealt a blow to traditional crypto exchanges, with bitFlyer, the long-standing market leader, securing the third position with a share of 11.3%.