Japan’s E-Commerce Platform Mercari Will Accept Bitcoin as Payments from June 2024
Mercari today announced plans to introduce Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment option for its platform users by June 2024.
Japan’s online community marketplace Mercari, today announced plans to introduce Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment option for its platform users by June 2024. The platform with over 22 million monthly users is planning to integrate Bitcoin payments through its Tokyo-based blockchain subsidiary, Melcoin, as per Japanese media reports.
Despite prices on Mercari remaining displayed in Japanese yen, users will have the option to make payments in Bitcoin. Melcoin will play the role of an intermediary, facilitating the transfer of Bitcoin to the seller in yen.
The move follows Mercari’s last year’s steps into the realm of cryptocurrency. In March 2023, the platform launched its own Bitcoin exchange, allowing users to buy Bitcoin through the app using their bank account balance, sales proceeds, and free points earned from selling activities on the platform.
This diversification into the crypto space appears to be paying off, as Mercari reported a boost in profits, reaching 2.8 billion yen ($19.4 million) in the third quarter of 2023 compared to 555 million yen in the same period the previous year.
Questions Linger Over Transaction Fees
Melcoin, as the host for Bitcoin payments on Mercari, will impose transaction fees akin to traditional fiat currency transactions. Currently, its unknown whether users will be subject to the same fee structure, leaving some ambiguity about the cost implications for those opting to pay with Bitcoin.
Mercari’s foray into cryptocurrency doesn’t end with facilitating Bitcoin payments. In a bid to enhance the user experience, the company launched the Mercari Bitcoin crypto trading service in October 2023. This service allows users to trade Bitcoin using the proceeds from their sales on the platform, offering integration of traditional e-commerce and cryptocurrency trading.
The integration of Bitcoin as a payment option is expected to encourage further adoption of cryptocurrency in Japan. Mercari’s move follows a trend set by other major players in the Japanese e-commerce space, such as Rakuten — which has long been a proponent of cryptocurrencies. Rakuten allows users to convert loyalty points to crypto and has developed a native nonfungible token platform.
Mercari’s recent decision to embrace Bitcoin payments is a bold step towards Japan’s digital transactions landscape, and further highlights the broader shift towards a more crypto-inclusive financial ecosystem in Japan.
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