36 Year Old Makes $62 Million Relying On Honesty of Strangers

ZeroPointNow's picture

Content originally published at iBankCoin.com

36 year old e-commerce entrepreneur Yusuke Mitsumoto had an idea: “what if I pay people instantly for their used goods and then trust them to give them to me?”

Crazy, right?

Mitsumoto launched an app in June to test the idea, quickly realizing that that people – surprise – went for the money, putting him on the hook for $3.2 million (360 million yen).

“after 16 hours, he was stunned to discover he was on the hook for 360 million yen ($3.2 million) and shut the service down. A day later, truckloads of clothes and electronics gadgets started to arrive, with his startup’s employees forming a bucket line to move packages into his company’s tiny office in Tokyo.” –Bloomberg

But then, to Mitsumoto's surprise – people took the money and then brought their stuff as promised! At the end of the day, only 1 out of 10 second-hand-sellers didn’t deliver.

In August, Mitsumoto relaunched the service called Cash, as a new way to gather inventory for an online flea market. Total daily purchases are capped at 10 million yen – and must be comprised of items on a list including; smartphones, luxury apparel, watches, clothing, and other specific items on a list of several thousand.

Customers can also snap pictures of their items and shoot over a non-negotiable offer.

Via Bloomberg: 

It was a social experiment,” said Mitsumoto, who started selling goods on the web in 1996. He later launched Stores.jp, Japan’s version of Shopify, which he sold and then bought back. “Of course, I believed that good people would outnumber the bad, but the question was by how much. That’s not something you can find out without trying.”

Big business

The market for second-hand goods is strong in Japan, valued at over 1.6 trillion yen ($14 billion USD). Yahoo Japan Corp. operates the country’s largest online auction site, Mercari, which became the first Japanese startup to be valued over $1 billion.

So when Keishi Kameyama – one of Japan’s richest entrepreneurs and founder of DMM.com came along, Mitsumoto agreed to sell Cash to DMM for 7 billion yen ($62 million USD) and continue running the business.

“For people doing internet businesses in Japan, DMM is a scary presence,” Mitsumoto said. “You never know when they may launch their own business and become a tough rival. I figured it’s best to at least meet.”


Indeed, a week after the deal was announced, Mercari launched an identical offering. The move by Cash proved that there was a need for such a service, said Takeo Iyo, the vice president in charge of Mercari Now. –Bloomberg

So – what do you think, would a thrift shop app work outside of an honor-based society like Japan?

Follow on Twitter @ZeroPointNow § Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
koan's picture

I don't thinnk this would work in a diverse society like America.

Bemused Observer's picture

As someone who sells second-hand, I don't know how you can buy something sight unseen. Hard enough when the stuff is new, how does he determine condition (THE most important thing with used goods!) prior to purchase? Unless the Japanese are as scrupulously honest in this respect as well?

Well, that would NOT work here. A buyer here would have to check the items over before. And that's called going to yard sales. They occur during the nicer weather, generally on weekends. I'm not sure if other countries have such a 'custom', where you put your unwanted items out in the yard and sell them to strangers, but it is a damned good one.

A lot of Americans make a good living this way, and it is as capitalistic as one can get. Pure entrepreneurs, digging through the detritus of their neighbors, helping them stay clean and organized as they bring unwanted items and the folks that want them together. Doing their part to keep America's landfills below capacity, rescue potential 'valuables' and collectibles from the trash, and providing lower income Americans with the opportunity to own high-end items at WalMart prices.

Fuck you Lloyd, WE do God's work.

Consuelo's picture



That 3rd paragraph of yours could only come from someone with enough real world experience under his belt to spin a yarn of pure marketing gold out of utter Bullshit...

And even for that, I give you high props...



yellowsub's picture

Should of added in front of the title, "Only in Japan..."

Da chief's picture

Huge news in the Canadian Marijuana space as Cantech is a high end lab with the abiity to "tailer make" specific marijuana strains from a genetic level. Crazy stuff.


futureman's picture

Oh my, GMO Marijuana? Where will it end?

Dr. Bonzo's picture

Try it in Detroit.

flacorps's picture

Japanese see each other as extended family. Won't work in a non-melting pot.

Librarian's picture

This system doesn't work for candy unattended on Halloween night.

TheAnswerIs42's picture

It is hard to believe, but even in tribal countries like Zimbabwe, people are honest enough that street vendors leave their products outside, unguarded overnight and nobody ever touches them!  And given that the unemployment rate is over 90%, there is NO cash and families go hungry.


jin187's picture

Oh, there's plenty of cash. They use trillion dollar bills as kindling there.

Also, in countries like Zimbabwe, getting caught stealing from a street vendor is a good way to end up with broken bones, not just a trip to city jail for a few hours. The street vendors are like an elite neighborhood watch. They will bust your ass if they catch you, and the cops, if any are even around, will just watch and laugh.

I actually saw a hilarious video awhile back. These two guys had pulled an armed robbery at a jewelry store in a small town, in the Philippines I think, and killed someone in the process. The whole village immediately hunted them down, tied them up, and dragged them to the outskirts of town, and stoned them to death. The best part was this one dude that had an entire armload of baseball-sized rocks. He launches one, and hits the guy in the nuts, and so the guy moves his arms to cover his nuts. Then it's head, head, head, head, head, until the guy covers his head again, and soon as he does, it's right back to the nuts with the biggest rock.

TheAnswerIs42's picture

Everything in Harare is priced in US$ and most stuff is more expensive than it is in the States (including food).


Bemused Observer's picture

There's a reason for that. Touch that stuff, and in 5 minutes you'd be surrounded by a flip-flop mob. There is nothing on that vendors cart worth the trouble.

NAVIGATOR0832's picture

Sure but I'm sure there is "tribal" justice if stealing occurs, outside of the law---certain body parts being chopped off etc.  

Also, some countries in Africa, large fractions of the population aren't even counted as part of the economy, just like in America about 50% is considered full employment for women.  

Karl Marxist's picture

It's been said many times good people far outnumber the bad on a ratio of approx. 80% of the population are good wonderful folks. the other 20% are outright bad and, note, 2-1/2 of the 20% are truly dangerous. As population grows with criminality at the top unchecked, we be in for a very, very rough ride ahead. Bitcoin is the answer to them.

TheAnswerIs42's picture

Because of the lack of cash, Bitcoin is being used to buy cars in Harare.

I suspect that many receive their Bitcoin from out of country.

NAVIGATOR0832's picture

Marx , in the Communist Manifesto, called this 20% "lumpenproletariat" or throw away "rags", useful only for securing the revolution and to be disposed of later.  

Pandelis's picture

Bitcoin is right - the currency of the "lumpen proletars" outside of central banking rigged system. ... everyone is able to mine it himself and become filfthy rich through hard work.


Viva Bitcoin the currency of the little people - there are a few thousands other secret coding crypto currency - the trick to pick the winner ... i guess got to wait for the dick eater ... Macaffeee or one of these vloss brothers i am sure they will be lucky enough to pick the winner

Setarcos's picture

It's because they are tribal.  I have heard the same about several tribal countries and winessed it myself in Libya 1991.  In fact when I was young in England (1940-50s) it was similar, especially in small towns and villages.  People were more connected and individualism hadn't run rampant.

stacking12321's picture

I believe you erred in your choice of words.
Individualism is not selfishness.
An individualist is self reliant and takes personal responsibility for his actions.

jin187's picture

Unless you're churning your own butter, sewing your own clothes, and plucking your own chickens, you depend on others. Standing there talking about how self-reliant you are because you have a 6-figure white collar job, while someone else lives in squalor and gets a gubmint check for $600 a month to supplement their burger flipping, is why people hate conservatives.

Hell, you don't even have to be rich. The average American works about 2500 hours a year, and is probably surrounded by 100000 man/hours worth of goods and services, mostly created by 3rd world slave labor, or close to it. Every time you buy something from SE Asia, or South/Central America, you've pretty much said "fuck individualism, I need moar stuff".

NAVIGATOR0832's picture

Sure but his "genes" are selfish.  Read "The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins.  

trutherator's picture

Dawkins suffers from a case of Massive Confirmation Bias, exacerbated by mega-doses of Pseudo-scientism Grande.In a base of Fake Science.

lew1024's picture

Genes, individually, 'want' to get intp the next generation. That takes maximal cooperation with all of the other genes that 'want' to do the same thing. Genes only compete with their alleles, not the other 99.99999% of the genome.


Whatta's picture

That shit will work until it becomes big enough for the Scoundrel Economy to kill it. "Nigerian Princes" will run right over honesty ever freaking time.

AC_Doctor's picture

Anyway to make the Japonezz dick bigger!!!

jin187's picture

First person to invent that gets all the Yen.

divingengineer's picture

I keep getting pop up ads for pills that do that.

Jason T's picture

Only in Japan. 

Culture matters.

I'm a culturalist.. and Japan in on Top.

divingengineer's picture

Any homogeneous society in the northern hemisphere.
Not many left. Southern Hemisphere is strictly tribal.

OCnStiggs's picture

Those racist Japanese men. They don't rape enough and by doing so, make men in Baltimore and Detroit and Chicago look bad. That is just racism.

Japan needs a government sponsored social program to encourage more raping. Pay guys to rape. As long as they vote for the PTB, no one gets any jail time, just cushy "rehab" time. I can hear the radio ads now, "If you like your rapist, you can keep your rapist!"

Just sayin'


jin187's picture

Rather than abusing other humans in their quest for rape, they've invented the 'Visual Novel + Jerk-Off Machine'. Once the people keeping track of rape statistics start including robots in their counts, Japan will be on top again.

Richard Chesler's picture

Are you guys suggesting dindus are dishonest?

jmack's picture

The news reports I read, did not mention race.

Richard Chesler's picture

here's a tip for you, whenever a news report fails to mention the perp's race it means it's a dindu. It's MSM SOP.



jin187's picture

My favorite is when they talk about "urban youths". Oh no, not urban youths! I guess another bunch of orphaned Irish street toughs just formed a flash mob, and robbed the Versace store again.

jmack's picture

I am quite versed in MSM SOP.  The fact is, while the baltimore example is probably blacks. The same issue exists in many white areas that are meth or opoid ridden.  I have  a house, which i could crap on the porch and some meth head would steal the steaming pile within 24 hours.


        Assigning a racial dimension to it ignores the underlying causes of why these societies become low trust communities, and only aid the people that are creating these low trust communities.

jin187's picture

Straight lies. I've lived in or near a number of "meth or opoid ridden" low-class white areas. While property crime is higher than middle-class areas, the gang activity, and the violent crime numbers aren't much different.

As a matter of fact, the area I'm in now is a heavily mixed area, where whites, blacks, latinos, and Asians all have their own low-income communities right next to one another, and their own gangs for that matter. There's a murder, and multiple robberies in the black neighborhood almost every day. In the other races' "ghettos", you might hear about a domestic incident, or a break-in, or a fight involving knives, or a gun being pulled, but almost never anything worse.

It's a matter of culture, and nothing more. All you need to do is look at the statistics for African immigrants, vs Americans of African descent, to tell it has nothing to do with skin color or poverty.

jmack's picture

     So you call me a liar, then agree with my thesis.... never go full retard.

DavidC's picture

Forgive my ignorance, but what is a dindu?


TeaClipper's picture

Dindu Nuffin as in Didn't do nothing bro, are we rappin yet?

NAVIGATOR0832's picture

This almost sounds Hindu.  Dindu-Hindu-.....

FEDbuster's picture

Hood rats, ghetto dwellers,....  Short for "didn't do nothing", dindu.  Typical response when questioned by the police.

Food Loaf Junkie's picture

A commonly used term for minority criminals who almost universally say when caught " I dindu nuffin"  Also stated by dead criminal's momma after a shootout with police  "Dey shot my baby and he dindu nuffin" :-)

The Divided Stoopids of DuhMerica's picture

A worthless, filthy, sub-human, NIGGER, orc that won't take personal responsability or blame for the fucked up actions that it repeatably does.

a Smudge by any other name's picture

Once again we'd like to thank you assholes for hijacking another thread for your infantile hate fest. One of the only positive ones we're likely to see today.

So one more time. Thanks assholes.

ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

and Germany is trying this with refugees, but they'll all be back in line tomorrow,

with a 10:1 returning for more cash.

Iconoclast421's picture

I love it when someone posts my comment for me. Now I really dindunuffin.