The messaging app, LINE is considered among the most popular social platforms in Japan, and the company has confirmed that it will launch a new cryptocurrency exchange, BitBox in July.
This next step follows the plan for cryptocurrency services, loans and insurance that LINE announced in January 2018, when the company applied for registration as a virtual currency exchanger and as a financial services agency in Japan. At that time, the company formed “LINE Financial Corporation” and grouped these services under “LINE Pay” to capitalize on the 40 million registered users in 2017 (200 million today) and a global transaction volume of 450 billion JPY ($4.08 billion USD) in 2017.
LINE Pay serves as a base for a variety of financial services accessed through the LINE app. As the chat application is already secure, the segue to cryptographic transactions is natural. The company is currently engaging in the research and development of blockchain technologies and other fintech endeavors designed to close the gap between people, their money and services.
At the time of the original announcement, LINE said that it planned to operate a marketplace inside of the app, where people may trade crypto, get loans and insurance. These services may keep the LINE app ahead of the curve, as Facebook’s WhatsApp and its native messenger application have over one billion monthly users.
LINE raised over $1.1 billion during its IPO in 2016, and its stock price has been relatively flat since then, hovering around $40 per share and currently trading at $41.96 as of June 28, 2018. Rumors of this move may have cause the share price to increase from $36.30 on June 4, and confirmation may push it higher. Keep in mind, we are not financial advisors, so be sure to speak with a professional before making an investment decision.
Although the LINE app is global, the BitBox service will not be available to users in the US and Japan due to regulatory uncertainty. However, users will still be able to trade 30 tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and others that were chosen following “an extensive screening process.” The app will charge a 0.1% trading fee for each transaction.
BitBox will be available around the world, with support for 15 languages. It will not support fiat transactions, but users may perform token-to-token trades with the 30 coins it supports. With 200 million active users per month, the company has a tremendous platform that it may expand with new services. Other ideas include ridesharing similar to Uber and Lyft, and music streaming.
As Japan is LINE’s biggest market, the inability to offer all services to Japanese users means that LINE will miss out on a huge revenue stream, not to mention the potential users in the US. However, as regulations are formalized, we may see LINE take a shot at entering these markets with all services. Regardless, the company has a huge number of active users in Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, where it can offer all of the above services, in addition to its localized services including video streaming, shopping and other on-demand services.