Japan's biggest messaging app, called Line, announced on January 31st that it plans to launch its own in-app cryptocurrency exchange, providing a platform for trading cryptocurrencies to over 200 million monthly users. Tokyo-based Line Corp released an official statement which says that the chat app company has formally applied to Japanese regulators for the right to operate their own cryptocurrency exchange.
According to the official statement, Line plans to establish a new company called Line Financial Corporation, which aims to offer a “variety of financial services, including a place to exchange and transact virtual currencies, loans, and insurance.”
Line's cryptocurrency trading platform and other financial blockchain-based services will compliment Line Pay, their existing mobile payment system, which already boasts over 40 million registered users and an annual global transaction volume of over $4 billion.
Unlike neighboring China and South Korea, Japan has taken a progressive stance toward cryptocurrencies, implementing a licensing scheme for crypto exchanges in 2017. Over twenty companies have been approved for national licenses, including efforts from several major Japanese corporations.
However, Line's announcement comes after one of the largest cryptocurrency heists in the world shook Japan last week. Over $530 million in cryptocurrency was allegedly stolen by hackers from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange CoinCheck, damaging public perception of cryptocurrency trading and leading to a national investigation.
The success of Line's new cryptocurrency trading platform and blockchain-based financial services offering will rely in no small part on its ability to restore the public's trust.