OKWave and Breadwallet team up to leverage bitcoin use in Japan

OKWave is a popular Japanese question and answer social website, and no stranger to bitcoin, having integrated a bitcoin tipping feature to their Arigato platform last year. The company announced an alliance with San Francisco-based venture and bitcoin company Breadwallet LLC today, giving their website added functionality and a high-quality integrated solution for user bitcoin wallets.

Founded in 1999, OKWave is Japan's first and largest Q&A site, much like Quora or Yahoo Answers, but with 45 million users as of last year, making it one of the top 150 websites in Japan, according to Alexa. The company employs 184 people and had ¥979 million in capital as of July 2015. Among its shareholders are Microsoft Corporation and Rakuten Inc. The company has been listed on the Nagoya Stock Exchange since June 2006.

In November 2007, the Japanese company founded a US subsidiary headquartered in San Francisco, named OKWAVE Inc.The smaller company operates an online greeting card service and global Q&A community platform, under the name Davia. More than 13.6 million users have joined the Davia online greeting card services since its inception, according to the company's website.

In April, OKWave, along with other VCs, invested ¥720m ( just over $6.5m) in startup TechBureau, during a Series A funding round. OKWave uses TechBureau’s Mijin private blockchain platform for user authentication of OKWave IDs, adding a layer of security to their user authentication system.

- TechBureau

The popular Breadwallet bitcoin wallet application allows for local storing, sending, and receiving bitcoins on the iPhone and Android platforms. In 2014, Breadwallet made headlines as the first full bitcoin wallet admitted to the Apple store, and has been one of the most popular wallets there ever since.

Breadwallet is built on a hybrid design, offering enhanced security over typical web wallets, like Coinbase and Circle. Web wallets rarely make sure that a local, user-side-only, private key exists, ensuring that end users have complete control over their money.

Desktop wallets typically offer this level of private key security, and Breadwallet bridges the gap, providing web-based integration into the OKWave platform, while at the same time giving users control of their private key.

- Breadwallet

The recent alliance is meant to boost bitcoin usage on the OKWave website, bringing safety and reassurance to all of their three and a half billion monthly users. OKWave has also invested an undisclosed amount in the wallet startup. “Entered into a capital and business alliance agreement with US venture company breadwallet LLC to provide a Bitcoin Wallet app,” states Kaneto Kanemoto, OKWave's President.

While more traditional means of payment are accepted for purchases, donations, and services across the OKWave website, Bitcoin is the only option for sending value between customers, allowing them to show more appreciation than a simple upvote.

Users can now take advantage of the website’s tipping features with an integrated Bitcoin wallet. Until now, users had to find and use their own version, which was impractical for the company as micro-payments would have to go out over the main bitcoin blockchain, charging fees and taking minutes to confirm.

With Breadwallet now added to the site, not only as the default option for holding bitcoin, but as an endpoint for their local bitcoin network, practical micropayments between customers are now possible.

“We are very pleased to enter into a strategic partnership with OKWAVE to help enhance the use of bitcoin on the OKWAVE.JP website,” said Breadwallet founder and president, Adam Traidman. “Leveraging breadwallet’s ease of use and security, together we can help bring benefits to users of OKWAVE and bitcoin within Japan and beyond.”