If there is one enterprise in Japan that is trying to be at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption and integration, it has to be LINE. The Japanese messaging app has been in the blockchain news for some time now with its movement in this nascent space, and has even launched its own token; most recently also launching a Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) regulated exchange.
Back in August last year, LINE became one of the first publicly traded companies to have launched a proprietary blockchain mainnet with its own cryptocurrency – LINK. Even their creation of this cryptocurrency was done in an innovative, and more mainstream-friendly manner.
Rather than adopt an ICO, LINE issued the tokens as an incentive for users who participate in its decentralized applications (dapps) built on top of the LINK Chain network.
Following this groundbreaking move for a company that was never a blockchain / cryptocurrency-first business, they recently launched their own exchange following approval from the strict and stringent FSA.
BitMax went live earlier this month operating on Android devices and is providing their users with an option to trade digital currencies. LINE has a user base of 80 million only in Japan, and their worldwide customer base amounts close to 164 million, this gives LINE a massive community of customers to reach.
Only the start
Several enterprises have started taking to the blockchain and cryptocurrency space as it stands in this nascent space, recognizing its potential for the future. The likes of Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, and Facebook are dominating in the West. However, LINE is one of the leaders in the East and has more ambitious plans on the way.
The Daily Chain spoke with Brian Lee – Manager of Global Corporate Affairs, LVC Corporation – to discuss what LINE has in store for the next ten or so years in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.
“Regarding fintech, including cryptocurrency, we recognize that a substantial investment over several years is necessary,” explained Lee. “We need to be fast to be a leader within this field, with early investment the key to innovation and success. Once we are established, we anticipate that fintech services like cryptocurrency will provide stable revenues for a long time to come.”
“Regarding blockchain specifically, we regard blockchain as a disruptive technology that enables users and services to exchange value and enhance transparency between one another, with cryptocurrency a kind of ‘investing’ business for the future that utilizes blockchain-based systems.”
“Applying this kind of new technology into the fintech area, we can actualize innovation in various ways. For example, using blockchain technology, we can analyze user behavior patterns. We can use data to enhance our credit service by further developing our LINE Score offering. We can also apply this blockchain framework to provide incentive to users who contribute to the development of services.”
Ready to be at the front
As mentioned by Lee, there is this growing sentiment that blockchain and cryptocurrencies are an arms race for some of the world’s biggest technology companies. There has been evidence before where companies have been left behind by not being well-positioned for the upcoming technological wave.
Recently, The Daily Chain also spoke with Gary Stewart, the managing director of Telefónica’s technology accelerator Wayra about how they feel they lost out to Whatsapp when it came to mobile messaging because they were not well placed to take advantage of this technological revolution.
It now appears as if with blockchain, because of its disruptive and dynamic potential, there are companies across almost every sector that are interested in driving the tech forward to be the next global leader in the space and truly unveil its killer application