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Japanese Online Retail Giant Buys Bitcoin Exchange

Despite the current bear dominated cryptocurrency market big buyouts in the industry are still occurring. Japan’s leading e-commerce giant Rakuten has announced plans to buy out a Tokyo crypto exchange.

The exchange, Everybody’s Bitcoin, was established in December 2016 and launched in Japan in March the following year. It is currently not one of the approved licensed exchanges that Japan’s Financial Services Agency permits to operate and itself was subject to a FSA probe following Coincheck’s hack in January.

The official announcement came a couple of days ago stating “The acquisition is based on a stock purchase agreement between Rakuten Card Co., Ltd. and Traders Investment, Inc. which is the parent company of Everybody’s Bitcoin.”

The acquisition will be effective on October 1 and is worth around $2.4 million, 265 million Yen, which will include all of the firm’s 5,100 shares. The Rakuten Group, which consists of 70 businesses, operates Rakuten Ichiba, the largest e-commerce site in Japan in addition to operating the country’s biggest internet bank and third-largest credit card company by transaction value. Services extend to travel and leisure, digital content, insurance and communications and financial technology. In 2016 the group also established the Rakuten Blockchain Lab, based in Belfast.

The company has cited a growing demand for crypto services from existing foreign exchange customers as a catalyst for the acquisition;

“In addition, a growing number of customers, in particular foreign exchange customers, of Rakuten Securities, the securities company of the Rakuten Group, have been calling for the provision of a cryptocurrency exchange service, which is also part of the background of the Rakuten Group considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry.”

The company has acquired the exchange to register it with Japanese regulators early and develop cryptocurrency services for its customers by combining the knowledge and experience of the two organizations.

Rakuten already accepts Bitcoin payments and has been doing so since 2015 when it integrated its U.S. online portal with Bitnet, a leading Bitcoin payment processing firm. It also launched its own loyalty based cryptocurrency, Rakuten Coin, earlier this year.

This buyout is the latest in a long line of Rakuten acquisitions stretching back over a decade which includes a $100 million investment in Pinterest in 2012, Viber Media (messaging app) in 2014, and Bitcoin wallet startup Bitnet in 2016.

Crypto in Japan just keeps moving forward regardless of bearish activity on the markets this year.


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Coinbase Acquires Decentralized Exchange “Paradex”

Coinbase, one of the leading companies associated with the crypto sphere in the United States and owner of Gdax, the #8 Exchange regarding volume worldwide, announced the recent acquisition of Paradex, a Dex that runs on the 0x platform.

The company made the announcement without going into too much detail. A short post on its official blog revealed what could be an essential step towards the global decentralization of exchanges:

“We’re thrilled to announce the acquisition of Paradex, a relay platform that will allow our customers to trade hundreds of tokens directly from their wallets. The move not only reinforces Coinbase’s commitment to investing in decentralized infrastructure and participating in the nascent world of wallet-to-wallet trading, but also our focus on the international crypto trader. After making some product enhancements, we’ll initially offer this experience to customers outside the U.S., and eventually to U.S.-customers.
Welcome Paradex to the Coinbase team!”

The decision to initially provide services to non-US residents is made on legal grounds. This is the same reason why som ICOs are not available in the United States.

This is latest move of the veteran company which seeks to expand its services while adapting to the changes in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Currently, there are more than 1600 altcoins in the market and Coinbase, despite its high volume, only offers four altcoins for trading: BTC, ETH, LTC, and BCH.

Coinbase did not disclose the terms of the deal. However, they expressed their enthusiasm regarding the purchase of this Dex:

“[Paradex is] a sophisticated and secure relay platform that will allow our customers to trade hundreds of tokens directly from their wallets.”

One of the aspects to note is that being Paradex a Decentralized Exchange, the control of the tokens does not fall on Coinbase, so the responsibility for trading is unique and exclusive to the users. This is a pioneering policy in a company that is known for being so conservative and meticulous.

Coinbase Bets on Changes and Innovations to Succeed on the Cryptomarket

The improvements that Coinbase is making are both technological and logistical. On April 16, Coinbase Welcomed Balaji Srinivasan as CTO, and the next day Alesia Haas joined as CFO

Alesia Haas: New CFO of CoinbaseAlesia Haas recently joined the Coinbase Team as CFO. Credit: Coinbase

Regarding services and infrastructure, the last few months have been very active for the company:

  • On March 30th they announced support for ERC20 tokens
  • Later, On April 5th they added support for Bitcoin Forks
  • On the same day, they began a startup financing program called Coinbase Ventures
  • Then, on May 15 they published the release of a suite of institutional products
  • On May 23rd they announced that the Gdax exchange would evolve into a rebranding. Its new name will now be Coinbase Pro, offering “professional trading tools and services” through a new UI

These developments put Coinbase back on the crypto-map, not only for their solidity but also for their visionary strategies.