Rakuten banks on Belfast’s bitcoin expertise

One of Japan’s leading e-commerce companies is betting on Belfast to develop the blockchain technology that’s been touted as being on the cusp of revolutionising financial services.
Rakuten, an online marketplace similar to Amazon and eBay, has opened a dedicated blockchain lab in the city after completing its takeover of local start-up Bitnet Technologies.
Prior to the acquisition, Rakuten owned a stake in Bitnet after investing in a 2014 investment round.
Bitnet was subsequently tipped to become a major success but struggled to make a significant impact.
‘Drawing on the significant IP assets and deep engineering expertise of the Bitnet team and combining that with Rakuten’s leadership in FinTech and support of innovative solutions, the new Rakuten blockchain lab will be our first step toward unlocking blockchain’s potential to revolutionise the way that financial and e-commerce transactions are conducted,’ said Rakuten chief information officer Yasufumi Hirai.

This post was published at Examiner on August 23, 2016.

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