The leading messaging app in Japan Line has announced yesterday plans to start their own cryptocurrency exchange service and an in-app trading space. The Japanese messaging giant has over 600 million registered users and 200 million active monthly users worldwide. The messaging app is popular in other nations like Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.
Line Corporation is based in Tokyo and is a leading Internet company in Japan. An announcement was made that they have already applied for a license with Japan’s financial regulator the Financial Services Agency. This is a big initiative and a big step for the company and a part of Line’s expansion into financial services.
They are also going to establish a new company named Line Financial Corporation. The goal is to establish a variety of financial services with focus on cryptocurrencies and digital assets. Line already offers a mobile payment service within the messaging app, called Line Pay. It has 40 million registered users and an annual global transaction volume of around 450 billion yen (or around 4$ billion). For comparison Coinbase have 13 million active users. Line Pay is a mobile money transfer and payment service available since 2014.
“Going forward, Line will use this new company as a base as it proceeds with preparations to provide a variety of financial services, including a place to exchange and transact virtual currencies, loans and insurances – all from the LINE app and will continue to grow our financial business.” – LINE
Good news for cryptocurrencies
In addition, Line wants to promote research and development of technologies such as blockchain. But they didn’t specify how they will try to do it. Bloomberg reported that Line plans to expand their cryptocurrency plans in Hong Kong and the cryptocurrency-friendly Luxembourg. Also sources told Bloomberg that some services may be offered as a stand-alone brand.
“Line hopes to become a leader in the fintech industry as the world moves increasingly towards a cashless wallet-less society”
The insurance business will focus on resale, centered in the beginning on the Japanese market where commissions are high. Line is also considering applications of blockchain technology in countries with undeveloped financial infrastructure to enable services such as the ability to pay utility bills via a mobile phone.
Bringing so much awareness to 200 million active users could significantly increase the rate of adoption of cryptocurrencies. This is great news for cryptocurrencies overall. The company is also hiring people with expertise in blockchain technology and finance.
Japan is one of the largest markets for cryptocurrency trading. According to statistics, Bitcoin trading in yen accounted for 30%-40% of the global trading volume in the last month. Japan has also tightened regulations on digital currency activities requiring cryptocurrency exchanges to submit annual reports and register with the government. The financial regulator is also allowed to conduct on-site inspections and issue business improvement orders. Never the less Japan has one of Asia’s most friendly jurisdictions for cryptocurrencies. Especially compared to the other giants in the crypto world – Japan and South Korea.
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