MASTERCLASSING

Messaging app Line could be lining up its own crypto exchange in Japan

Tyrone Stewart

LineJapan’s largest messaging app, Line, is reportedly nearing the introduction of its own cryptocurrency exchange. The news comes just days after Facebook unveiled its Libra digital currency.

According to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, Japan’s Financial Services Agency could hand Line its license this month, with operations getting underway a few weeks after receiving that.

The service is going to be called ‘BitMax’ and will enable Line’s 80m users in Japan to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and its own Link digital tokens.

Line launched Link alongside its first blockchain network, Link Chain, in August last year – when it also introduced a $10m investment fund dedicated to cryptocurrency. A month prior, it launched its BitBox crypto exchange across the world, excluding the US and Japan, where more than 30 cryptocurrencies can be exchanged. BitMax will make use of the same backend technology as BitBox but will only to those in Japan, unlike the latter.

Line is also waiting on a separate banking license in Japan to enable it to deeper integrate cryptocurrencies into its other services.