Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten has acquired IP assets of British bitcoin payments startup Bitnet Technologies, which will be used to open a blockchain research lab in Belfast, UK.
The Rakuten Blockchain Lab (R.B.L.) will be focused on blockchain technology and its potential applications in the fintech and e-commerce sectors.
The lab will be headed up by chief technology officer Stephen McNamara and vice president of engineering Fergal Downey, both of whom will join from Bitnet.
Rakuten said that the lab will be part of its ecosystem services organization under its technology division, which is led by Fernando Paulo, executive officer of Rakuten.
Yasufumi Hirai, head of the technology division at Rakuten commented: “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 revolutionize the way that financial and e-commerce transactions are conducted.”
"We are delighted that Rakuten have chosen to open their new Blockchain Lab here in Belfast. There are so many great opportunities for blockchain technologies inside Rakuten and the newly created lab will be instrumental in delivering new and innovative solutions" Downey said.