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Yusuke Mitsumoto had a hunch: What if you paid people instantly for their used goods over the internet, with no guarantee that they would hand them over?

The 36-year-old e-commerce entrepreneur launched an app in June to test the idea. It worked better than he imagined. After 16 hours, he was stunned to discover he was on the hook for ¥360 million and shut the service down.

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