The biggest messaging service in Japan – Line – is launching a new cryptocurrency exchange next month. This announcement comes in a time when Bitcoin is receiving a lot of criticism for the constant decline in prices since the start of 2018.
Its new exchange will be called Bitbox which will be situated in Singapore. As a Japan-based company, the move raises a lot of questions about Japan’s ‘crypto-friendliness’. Japan authorities have been known to pressure even established exchanges such as Bitbank and BitFlyer who have now resigned from The Virtual Currency Exchange Association.
The Bitbox exchange will be offering 30 cryptocurrency pairings that include the popular ones such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. The website will be offered in 15 different languages.
Company CEO Takeshi Idezawa shared a vision where a token-based economy will position blockchain technology in messenger systems. This will then tie together commerce, entertainment, and media offerings. As things are now, Line is relying on revenue from advertising where the industry is dominated by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Tapping the crypto industry allows for the much needed new revenue stream.
Idezawa shared the opportunity they saw as he further stated:
“There isn’t a system in place right now that can monetarily reward users’ contributions to a service. Linking service growth to compensation for contributors in a token economy could unlock a great deal of new value.”
To go the extra mile, Line is already developing its own cryptocurrency. The token will be used to pay users for contributing to the services in the platform and third-party providers who have access to it. However, Idezawa did not hint at a timeline just yet.
On top of Line’s move to integrate cryptocurrency in messaging services, it will be offering a stand-alone mobile app for the crypto exchange. Line is seen to aggressively push its services. Just last quarter, it reported results for its new services – Line Pay, AI speaker Clova and other related e-commerce products. Although the reports have shown a loss overall, usage is up and company shares look to be growing in value.
As of June 2018, Line’s shares have grown by 9 percent. To add, JPMorgan Chase & Co Japan VP of Stocks Research Division Haruka Mori expressed positivity in Line’s growth trend when she stated:
“The potential of these services depends largely on usage trends for Line Pay. We expect the fintech business to substantially expand its earnings contribution.”