Line Corp., mobile messenger app unit of South Korea’s leading online portal operator Naver Corp., announced to launch cryptocurrency exchange business in Japan as part of its strategy to create a synergy based on its top messaging platform with more than 120 million users in Japan and its financial service “Line Pay.”
Line announced on Jan. 31 that it has established financial service subsidiary “Line Financial” capitalized at 500 million yen (US$4.57 million or 49.1 billion won) in Japan. Line Financial has already filed for a license with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) to trade crypto tokens. The new company is also preparing to provide insurance and traditional banking services, including loan, through Line Financial. In addition, it will concentrate on research and development in the cryptocurrency underlying blockchain technology to apply it on its digital wallet system.
The information technology (IT) industry at home and abroad expects that Line will link the digital currency trading function with its various platforms like simple payment service Line Pay. As virtual currencies can serve as a type of cyber money, they will be able to convert into Line Pay’s coins. However, Line is most unlikely to offer cryptocurrency services in South Korea. Unlike Japan, Line’s mobile messenger platform has a weak influence in the South Korean market.
An official from Naver said, “We haven’t decided on whether Line Financial will provide digital currency services in South Korea.” Previously, there was a rumor that Upbit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange launched by Dunamu, were seeking to break into the Japanese market through a partnership with Line. However, Naver flatly denied the rumor, saying “It is completely untrue.”