Business & Finance

Line Brings Crypto Trading to its 80 Million Japanese User Base

The popular Japanese messaging app Line has officially launched its new cryptocurrency trading service, catering to its 80 million users based in Japan, as per the company’s announcement.

The Shinjuku-based messaging provider, Line is a freeware application for instant communication thriving in Japan. Despite being based in Japan, the messaging giant is 73.36% owned by South Korea’s Naver, the company behind Korea’s first ever and number one search engine.

LVC CORPORATION, which is the digital asset- and blockchain-focused arm of Line is behind the newly launched platform, dubbed ‘Bitmax’, which according to an announcement on September 17, is now live and open to the public for trading.

With the new trading platform, the wide user base of Line in Japan will be able to purchase, sell and trade in several major cryptocurrencies. As of now, the platform has been approved and authorized for the trading of 5 crypto assets namely; bitcoin (BTC), Ethererum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC) and XRP.

In addition to Bitmax, Line’s crypto-focused ecosystem consists of the mobile payment service, Line Pay and a Line Wallet; Line Wallet is made up of the various Line Pay services and allow users to smoothly make money transfers and payments. And reports suggest that an estimated 50 million users, of the 187 million global users, are registered to Line Pay.

The statements revealed that new service was introduced to the public in stages starting from 3 P.M. Japan time, Tuesday. The newly launched exchange service is welcoming newcomers to the world of crypto trading by allowing users to make small transactions of under 1,000 Japanese yen. Probably in order to counter the hesitation that comes with making bigger transactions on a new platform.

Furthermore, Line’s crypto service is available in Japan first on Android devices and anyone with a Line account can access it via the wallet tab on LINE mobile app. It is also integrated with LINE Pay to provide an easier Japanese yen fiat on-ramp process. There is no fees charged for trading crypto assets but a charge of 108 yen will be applied for deposits and withdrawals.

Additionally, in order to provide its consumers with the best and trustworthy security features, the company revealed that it utilizes a wallet developed by Palo Alto-based BitGo, to separate customer assets and store assets in a cold wallet, which will be managed by a dedicated team.

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In addition to that, the company has implemented a strict Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policy for its new customers. Applicants can register their account with the app using an ID card and photographic capture, with a registered bank account and an ID or by mail.

In terms of regulatory compliance, the LVC Corporation obtained a crypto exchange-operating license from Japan’s financial regulator, earlier in September. Japan is known for its strict regulatory policies in the crypto space, which is why Line is launching Bitmax especially for the Japanese market.

Bitmax, isn’t Line’s first crypto-centric project in fact, back in July 2018, the Japanese messaging giant launched its Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange platform dubbed ‘BITBOX’. The platform was aimed at a global user base however, was not available in Japan.

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Due to the Japan’s crypto exchange license requirements, that have been in force since the amendment of the country’s Payment Services Act in April 2017, BITBOX was and is not accessible for Japanese traders. Hence, according to reports, Line is repurposing BITBOX’s back-end infrastructure for its Japanese, FSA-approved platform Bitmax. Despite both BITBOX and Bitmax are the inventions of the same company, Line emphasized in its announcement that they both are different.

The crypto ecosystem has grown by leaps and bounds since it first came around and now includes some of the biggest names from various industries across the board, like the social media giant Facebook and Line. While Facebook has seemingly hit a wall with the regulators, Line has been actively embracing the crypto and blockchain technology so far, with comparatively less turbulence. Only last year, the messaging platform launched its very own native cryptocurrency called Link, along with the token-based blockchain network Link Chain.

READ ALSO: Crypto Exchange Attack Fiasco: Binance has Only Its CEO to Blame

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Abeer Anwaar

Abeer holds a Bachelors degree in Media studies and covers blockchain startups for BlockPublisher. An optimist, excels in the art of the written word and swears by the joy of all things sweet. Contact the editor at editor.startups@blockpublisher.com

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