Line is one of the biggest and most popular messaging apps in the world right now. Japan-based Line has been around for quite a long time and has over 600 Million registered users out of which 200 Million of them are active regularly. The company has now announced that they intend to start off with a cryptocurrency exchange in the near future.
Tokyo based Line has now officially announced their plans. The company has submitted an application to the Financial Services Agency (FSA), which is Japan’s leading financial authority. The application states that Line intends to register and operate a cryptocurrency exchange in the country. As of this writing, the application is being reviewed by the FSA.
While Line is a globally popular app, a bulk of their users comes from Japan. Line has a strong and active user base of over 70 Million users from Japan who use it frequently. In addition to Japan, Line also has a strong user base in other neighboring nations such as South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan among others. The company is already a household name in the island nation and is popular in the entire South Asian region.
Line has now set up a new company called Line Financial, which will be all about the financial transactions while the main Line app deals with messaging and communications. Line already has a payments related service, Line Pay which already has over 40 Million users globally transacting amounts worth $4.1 Billion.
The Press Release from the company states: LINE has established this new company to create and provide an even more revolutionary financial service. Going forward, LINE will use this new company as a base as it proceeds with preparations to offer a variety of financial services, including a place to exchange and transact virtual currencies, loans, and insurance – all from the LINE app – and will continue to grow its financial business.
Line’s plans to launch a cryptocurrency exchange are rather surprising. What is even more surprising is that it won’t just be limited to Japan. The company intends to set up services in Hong Kong as well as Luxembourg which is a region known for relaxed regulations on cryptocurrencies. With this move, Line doesn’t challenge the local cryptocurrency exchanges which trade only in Japan, but also to major international exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase which cater to a larger, global audience.
As of this writing, there are 16 cryptocurrency exchanges registered with the FSA. Another 14 including Line are now awaiting approval. The number of cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan has been on the rise. While Line is a significant name all set to open up an exchange in China, many other players are lining up. This includes SBI (Softbank Investments Corporation) which is gearing up to launch an exchange in Japan in partnership with Huobi.
It will be interesting to see how Line’s entry into the cryptocurrency markets impacts the ecosystem. However, Line has a long way to go in the markets as it has stiff competition from other existing players in the Japanese markets such as BitFlyer and Coincheck among others.