Rakuten is launching an NFT platform in Japan.
The new Rakuten NFT service will open its doors early next year, allowing users to buy and sell NFTs as well as enable IP holders to issue NFTs and build sales websites.
NFTs: What are they all about?
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, harness the power of blockchain technology to assign unique identifiers to specific pieces of digital media.
In recent months, the tokens have gained prominence as a way to transfer and verify ownership of assets such as digital art — bringing it closer, in a sense, to physical art. While a piece of digital art (think, a JPEG file) can be duplicated pixel for pixel with a couple of taps on your keyboard, having possession of the NFT assigned to that particular piece of media means that you are the owner of the ‘original’ art.
Most of the headlines surrounding NFTs have focused on visual media such as digital images, GIFs and video clips, but the tokens can be assigned to any unique set of ones and zeroes — music, books and even games. Rakuten’s NFT platform will focus on sports media alongside entertainment assets such as anime and music.
The platform will host a marketplace that will allow users to buy and sell NFTs. However, Rakuten NFT is aiming to be more than a simple marketplace: the team is also looking to provide a one-stop platform for holders of major intellectual property — in categories like sports, anime and music — to issue their own NFTs for users to buy and exchange.
Integrating Rakuten NFT to the Rakuten Ecosystem
The new platform will be integrated fully into the Rakuten Ecosystem, meaning any of Rakuten’s millions of members in Japan can sign in and check out using their existing Rakuten ID. This integration will also allow for collaboration with other Rakuten services, which could potentially pay out gifts or benefits in the form of NFTs.
The earning and spending of Rakuten Points — Rakuten’s ever-popular loyalty program — is also likely to be implemented.
This new venture is hardly Rakuten’s first foray into the world of blockchain. In 2016, the Rakuten Blockchain Lab was established to explore potential applications of blockchain in the fields of e-commerce and fintech. Three years later, Rakuten began providing spot trading services of cryptocurrencies through Rakuten Wallet.
The NFT industry — still in its infancy — remains dominated by tech-savvy crypto enthusiasts. With the launch of this new platform, Rakuten is hoping to simplify NFT technology to the point that holders of intellectual property can issue and trade tokens regardless of their technical knowledge, empowering creators and giving rise to a new digital market.