Viber, the Luxembourg-based messaging and video call app with over 100 million users in Russia alone, has announced its intentions to launch a native cryptocurrency in 2019.
Viber Studying Russian Law
Local news outlet Tass reported the development on July 3, 2018. Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce business conglomerate, and early-stage incubator, is the parent company of Viber and stated it is studying Russian policies and legislation that may affect its ambitions. Notably, Rakuten will brand the coin after itself, with intentions to deploy it across owned companies to create a “Rakuten Ecosystem.”
Viber Chief Executive Officer Djamel Agaoua told Tass the “messenger-based cryptocurrency” will be launched in 2019, and confirmed that Viber’s “mother company” is creating the “Rakuten Coin.” Agaoua added:
“This Rakuten Coin will be tradeable in Viber. The cryptocurrency will appear in the Viber wallet and it can be exchanged for rubles, dollars and euros.”
The messaging giant Viber intents to launch an e-commerce platform in Russia in Q4 2018.
Viber’s Huge Cryptocurrency Potential
Rakuten acquired the cross-platform Viber in 2014 for an estimated $900 million. While its popularity in Japan is slim, Viber enjoys a user base of over a billion across the world, with most from Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Central and Eastern Europe.
In 2018, the company revealed plans to launch Viber Communications, a scaled-group interface that could be integrated to a Facebook API and placed a member limit of one billion users per group.
Viber intends to create brand communication and interaction via the communications platform, and monetize the streams of information. At the time, Rakuten stated all app partners and connected businesses could participate on the platform.
After Rakuten launches its native digital currency in 2019, over a 100 million user from the country may be able to use the method of payment for shopping for goods and services.
Rakuten’s Cryptocurrency Push
In March 2018, Rakuten announced its plans for Rakuten Coin, which aimed at creating a “borderless” shopping experience for users. As stated, the coin would allow customers to purchase products across the world from Rakuten-owned stores without incurring costly conversion fees.
The company added the blockchain-based offering would be integrated into its loyalty points program, slated to be a part of Viber as well.
Rakuten’s e-commerce market share in Japan commands a significant percentage. Additionally, its 15-year-old loyalty points program is a raging success in the Far East nation and allows redemptions from groceries to electronics.