The first four months of 2019 have already kicked off a string of high-profile acquisitions for cryptocurrency, including the development of J.P. Morgan Chase’s stablecoin. With social media giant Facebook looking to release its own coin at some point in the near future, the adoption of cryptocurrency is beginning to pick up pace.
However, investors are still unable to use their coins directly on some of the world’s largest marketplaces, including online retail goliath Amazon. For years, Amazon has been tied to false stories of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency integration, as one of the most high profile companies that has yet to put any interest towards the industry–despite being an obvious source for crypto-based transactions.
According to data compiled by Statista, Amazon had $232 billion in net sales in 2018, and is currently the most popular online store for U.S. shopper by a long margin. The sheer volume of transactions per day generated by Amazon would sky-rocket the use case for cryptocurrency, helping both the marketplace and development for coins. As it stands, a vast number of coin projects are focused entirely on cryptocurrency exchanges, where they become more like bartering chips in speculation as opposed to legitimate currencies. Having a significant marketplace for crypto transactions would give users increased incentive to spend their coins.
Even if Amazon continues to ignore the growth of cryptocurrency, their hand may be forced by the development of rivals. While Overstock.com, a competitor in U.S.-based online retail has accepted cryptocurrency for years, the rise of Japan-based Rakuten may ultimately prove more compelling. Rakuten has been expanding in markets around the world for the last several years and has directed a portion of their growth into capitalizing on cryptocurrency.
Already the company is accepting registrations for their new Bitcoin and crypto platform, Rakuten Wallet, which will combine e-commerce with cryptocurrency trading. According to Forbes, the company went on record last year stating their bullish position on cryptocurrency
“the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in peer-to-peer payments will grow in the future.”
Following Rakuten’s licensing approval for their Bitcoin and cryptocurrency platform exchange last month, the platform is set to launch in June 2019. While Rakuten may still be a far-cry from challenging Amazon in e-commerce for U.S.-based markets, the development of their cryptocurrency platform could lead to increased competition. At the very least, if cryptocurrency adoption goes exponential, Amazon will be exposing itself to playing catch-up, as opposed to their present opportunity to become a market leader.
Changpeng Zhao, CEO of leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance, has repeatedly expressed his view that all business will one day be forced to take an interest in token projects or cryptocurrency. In response to the recent update by Rakuten, the exchange CEO replied,
Cryptocurrency prices continue to rise throughout April, after their bullish start to the month, with Bitcoin looking to make another push towards $5300.