Viber’s parent company, Rakuten, has set plans to add its own cryptocurrency to Viber. Rakuten Coin will be tested in Russia and is expected to give Viber the advantage that it needed in order to beat WhatsApp, its biggest rival.
Viber’s Parent Firm Plans to Add Rakuten Coin to the App
For years now, messaging platforms have been developing an interest in cryptocurrencies. Apps like Line, Telegram, and Kik have already entered the crypto world, and now is the time for Viber to do the same.
Viber is one of the best-known messaging platforms in the world, and it was originally created in Israel. Afterward, it was bought by Rakuten, a massive Japense corporation. Viber currently provides its services to more than a billion people around the world, but that still isn’t enough to beat its biggest rival, WhatsApp.
Considering how crypto-friendly Japan has been in the last few years, it came as no surprise when Viber stepped out and accepted Bitcoin back in 2015. However, now, its parent company wishes to combine it with its own token – Rakuten Coin.
The coin will be used as a currency used by the Viber community, and Russia seems to be chosen to become a testing ground for the introduction of the coin.
Members of the Viber community will still have the ability to interact with each other via messages, emojis, and to use everything that the app was offering so far. However, the admins of Viber’s ‘supergroups’ will be able to monetize the streams, and they will use the Rakuten Coin to do so. That way, the platform will be capable of tapping into Rakuten’s partner network, media business, as well as big e-commerce firms.
Russia has been chosen to be the testing ground for the introduction of the coin, and the platform currently has around 45 million users in this country. According to Djamel Agaoua, the CEO of Viber, the launch of the crypto is scheduled for 2019. He also added that the Russian users will soon get the ability to send Rakuten Coin and to trade them for three traditional currencies – euros, dollars, and, of course, rubles.
From App to a platform
The plans to do something like this were hinted by Agaoua last year, and back then, he described it as a move that has a goal to help Viber become an entire platform, instead of being just an app with a single purpose. By adding a crypto to the equation, Viber will allow its users to monetize interactions, sell, buy, and trade coins, and even to pay for services and goods – all within the Viber app.
He added that users will be able to chat, look at restaurants, and even make reservations upon deciding where they wish to go.
Increasing Viber’s functionality might be just what the app needs in order to beat the competition like WhatsApp, or Telegram. WhatsApp is still seen as Viber’s biggest rival, considering that it is used by 59% of messaging apps users located in Russia.
In order to make sure that the plan will work without major issues, Rakuten is studying the Russian law, but it is also looking into the legal framework for cryptos that the country is developing. The framework is still in development, and it has come through numerous revisions so far. Still, it is expected that it will take shape later in 2018 and that Russia will finally be ready for Viber to make its move.