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Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has integrated its US site with bitcoin payment processor Bitnet, enabling customers in America to pay with the digital currency.

Often considered a rival to Amazon, Rakuten has also confirmed plans to roll out bitcoin integration to both its German and Austrian e-commerce sites.

Yaz Iida, president of Rakuten USA, said the company's mission was to "empower the world through the Internet". He added:

"Not only can bitcoin support this vision by helping our merchants to compete globally, but it also has the potential to benefit society by enhancing the security, privacy, and convenience of financial transactions."

Speaking about the integration, John McDonnell, co-founder and CEO at Bitnet, said that they were excited to join with Rakuten in helping both merchants and shoppers reap the benefits of this new technology.

He added: "Rakuten's global marketplaces are great examples of how digital currencies can impact global commerce."

Interest in bitcoin

The news comes after Rakuten's CEO, Hiroshi Mikitani, one of Japan's wealthiest individuals, announced his company was considering accepting bitcoin just last month.

Rakuten is not new to the bitcoin space. The Wall Street Journal previously reported that the e-commerce giant had formed a department to study digital currencies and had invested in US-based bitcoin ventures such as Bitnet.

The Tokyo-based company employs over 14,000 people and operates 40 businesses worldwide. The company is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.

In Japan it operates a bank, an insurance company and even a professional baseball team.

Image via Shutterstock.

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