Mercari to introduce Bitcoin payments for its 22 million users
Mercari, the popular digital flea market platform in Japan, is reportedly planning to allow its 22 million monthly active users to buy products using Bitcoin.
Nikkei has revealed that this new payment option is expected to be available by June this year.
The Bitcoin transactions will be handled by Mercari’s Tokyo-based blockchain subsidiary, Mercoin. While the prices on Mercari will still be displayed in Japanese yen, users will have the option to pay using Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Mercoin will act as an intermediary in these transactions, converting Bitcoin into yen for the sellers. However, it’s still not clear if the transaction fees for Bitcoin payments will be the same as those for fiat currency.
Mercari has been actively involving cryptocurrency in its operations. In March 2023, the company launched its own Bitcoin exchange, enabling users to buy Bitcoin directly through the app. This could be done using their bank account balance, sales proceeds, or points earned from selling on the platform.
The introduction of Bitcoin payments comes as Mercari reports a significant increase in profits. In the third quarter of 2023, the company recorded a profit of 2.8 billion yen ($19.4 million), a substantial rise from 555 million yen in the same period the previous year. Revenue also grew by 11.2% year-on-year, reaching 44.27 billion yen.
This move by Mercari is seen as part of a broader trend in Japan, where e-commerce platforms are increasingly adopting cryptocurrency. Rakuten, another major e-commerce player in Japan, has also been proactive in integrating crypto into its services, including a feature to convert loyalty points into cryptocurrency and developing a nonfungible token platform.
Circle, the company behind the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, also announced a collaboration with SBI Holdings, a leading Tokyo-based financial conglomerate, to deepen the adoption of USDC and Web3 services in Japan.
SBI VC Trade, a crypto subsidiary of SBI Holdings, is tasked with obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals to facilitate the circulation of USDC. This partnership aligns with Japan’s recent update to its Payment Services Act, which is designed to foster the use of stablecoins in the country.