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Japanese E-commerce Heavyweight Mercari to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 2 min read
A person’s hand holds a smartphone displaying the Mercari Pay logo next to a laptop.
Source: vladim_ka/Adobe

Mercari, one of Japan’s biggest e-commerce platforms, says it will start accepting Bitcoin (BTC) from June this year.

Per a report from Nikkei, the firm will process Bitcoin payments via its Tokyo-based crypto subsidiary Melcoin.

Melcoin will convert all BTC payments into yen, meaning that while buyers can choose BTC pay, vendors will receive fiat.

The firm will stop short of posting prices in Bitcoin, with items listed for sale in fiat yen.

However, customers will be able to choose BTC as a payment method when making purchases on the website.

Japanese E-commerce Giants in Bitcoin Adoption Push

Mercari was founded in 2013 and has become Japan’s biggest community marketplace platform.

The company said in July 2023 that it had 22 million monthly users. The firm is also trying to establish a presence in overseas locations including Europe.

In recent months, the firm has launched a range of crypto-related products, including the Mercari Bitcoin crypto trading service.

The service lets users buy and sell Bitcoin using the proceeds of their sales on the platform.

The platform also comprises a loyalty points system, which Mercari has linked to its crypto trading arm, meaning Mercari users can swap their points for Bitcoin.

A graph showing Bitcoin prices versus the Japanese yen over the past month.
Bitcoin prices versus the Japanese yen over the past month. (Source: BitFlyer)

The firm said the Mercari Bitcoin trading service surpassed the 1 million user mark in October, just seven months after its launch.

In June last year, Mercari said some 80% of its crypto users had no prior experience with cryptoasset trading.

E-commerce: Japan’s New ‘Bitcoin Gateway’?

Observers have called the Mercari service – and a rival platform operated by Rakuten – a new “gateway” for Bitcoin and crypto investors and traders.

Rakuten, another leading Japanese e-commerce platform, has been active in the crypto space for even longer than Mercari.

The firm operates the Rakuten Wallet crypto trading service. It has also integrated its loyalty points program with its crypto arm, allowing users to trade their points for cryptoassets.

Last month, a survey found that Japanese people who started trading coins at the end of 2022, overwhelmingly chose Mercari’s Bitcoin Trading app (24.7%) or Rakuten’s Rakuten Wallet platform (24.2%).

The news came as a blow to the nation’s biggest crypto exchanges. The traditional market leader bitFlyer placed third behind the two e-commerce giants with 11.3%.