Mercari to expand into virtual assets

The operator of a popular Japanese e-commerce site has decided to expand its payment options. Mercari will launch a new firm in late April to develop services using cryptocurrencies.

The company plans to eventually let users of its flea market app to receive payments in cryptoassets. Customers will also be able to manage such assets on the Merpay online settlement platform.

Japanese rival Rakuten Group already allows shoppers to pay with cryptoassets while foreign platforms have also been offering settlement services using virtual currencies.

But some critics say the surge in value of cryptocurrencies is a bubble that's bound to burst. Security is also a concern, as a number of crypto exchanges have reported thefts of customer assets.