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Messaging app Line unveils cryptocurrency and blockchain network

Tim Maytom

Line Corporation, the owner of popular messaging platform Line, has launched its first digital token, Link, and its first blockchain network, Link Chain, both of which were built independently by the firm. With the launch, Line bceomes one of the largest and most-established companies to develop and issue a cryptocurrency.

The firm is not going the traditional route of making an initial coin offering, but is instead utilising a reward system, giving users Link as compensation for using certain services within the Line ecosystem. For example, a user who has joined and participated in one of the decentralised app (dApp) services related to Link may receive Link as incentive.

Once a user has started building up Link, they can then be used as payment within the ecosystem, or to access rewards within the dApp services that will be launched soon. Line plans to register Link exclusively on its global digital asset exchange Bitbox in September, where the new cryptocurrency will be distributed to users. Bitbox will also serve as a hub for acquiring and trading Link with other digital assets.

"Over the last seven years, Line was able to grow into a global service because of our users, and now with Link, we wanted to build a user-friendly reward system that gives back to our users," said Takeshi Idezawa, CEO of Line. "With Link, we would like to continue developing as a user particpation-based platform, one that rewards and shares added value through the introduction of easy-to-use dApps for people's daily lives."

Link will operate using Link Chain, a blockchain network that was also built by Line following the launch of the Genesis Block on 23 August. Link Chain serves as a service-orientated blockchain neetwork that enables dApps to be directly applied to the Line messaging platform. Line is hoping its extensive know-how in building platform infrastructure will mean both stability and minimised wait times, issues that have plagued decentralised blockchains.

A total of 1bn Link will be gradually issued, according to how the ecosystem develops. Of that, around 800m tokens will be allocated for user rewards, with 200m managed by Line Tech Plus as a reserve.

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