Kakao Corp, the owner of South Korea’s largest messaging service KakaoTalk, announced that it will form a blockchain subsidiary and that it is considering launching its own initial coin offering (ICO), set to take place later in March.
Huffington Post South Korea reported on March 5 that Kakao was planning to establish the blockchain subsidiary, which is tentatively being named “Kakao Blockchain,” as well as exploring an ICO. According to the report, Kakao is set to release a business plan and more details about the project in a press conference expected to take place on March 20.
ICOs are currently illegal in South Korea as of September 2017, so Kakao is considering holding the offering in Singapore, Hong Kong, or a different offshore ICO hub. Kakao’s new proposed cryptocurrency, called Kakao Coin, may then be used as payment across a range of apps offered by Kakao, including messaging app KakaoTalk, taxi app Kakao Driver, Kakao Games, and Kakao Pay.
KakaoTalk is the biggest messaging service in South Korea, used by an estimated 93 percent of smartphone users, with 220 million registered users and 49 million active monthly users worldwide.
The South Korean messaging giant is not the only messaging app launching its own cryptocurrency. British Virgin Islands-based Telegram recently announced the completion of their ICO pre-sale, which ran from January to February, and claimed to have raised $850 million from 81 investors. Japanese messaging app Line also announced that they were exploring their own ICO in January 2018.