by Cindy Huynh
Japanese messaging giant Line is planning to create a custom blockchain to support decentralized apps for its platform.
Line’s chief technology officer Euivin Park announced the news at the 2018 Technology Roadmap last Friday on April 20, 2018. Park mentioned that Line plans to launch a blockchain mainnet.
Line will build the platform on existing products. The company also plans to leverage the token economy to incentivize and accelerate the development of DApps through third parties or the company’s developers. The Japanese giant is therefore in the process of recruiting more blockchain developers in Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.
Line is Quick to Adopt Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology
Line’s recent announcement follows two essential company developments in the field of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. On January 31, 2018, according to a press release, Line announced the creation of a new company called Line Financial Corporation as an extension of Line Pay. The new company will provide digital currency services, allowing users to trade digital currencies on the app and is awaiting review from the Japanese Financial Services Agency.
“Last year, Line Pay achieved major growth, with its global annual transaction volume exceeding JPY 450 billion and reaching 40 million registered users,” as mentioned in their press release. It appears as though Line’s successful growing userbase enabled the messaging giant to leverage the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies and eventually add it to their messaging platform.
On April 2, 2018, ZD reported that Line Plus, a subsidiary of Line also created a blockchain subsidiary called Unblock in South Korea. Unblock’s goal is to research the potential future applications of blockchain technology and connect the cryptocurrency markets in South Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia.
Kakao and Kik look to Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technology as Well
Other messaging platforms are also quick to adopt blockchain technology. Korean messaging platform Kakao, according to Korean news site The Bell, in March 2018, is launching a subsidiary that focuses on blockchain technology. A Kakao representative confirmed the plans to TechCrunch and hired Han Jaesun, CTO of gaming startup FuturePlay to run the business. In a press conference hosted in late May, as reported by Yonhap news, a Kakao representative said that the company had also launched a new division dedicated to developing a blockchain-based platform to be complete at the end of the year.
In September 2017, web messaging platform Kik messenger also released an ICO for Kin, Kik’s native currency. The ICO, which included contributions from a private sale, raised almost $100 million from more than 10,000 people across 117 countries. According to the ICO’s website, The Kin Foundation will “ensure the delicate transitions of the Kin ecosystem into a fully decentralized and autonomous network.” Kik has also decided to host the Kin cryptocurrency token on Ethereum for liquidity and Stellar for transactions. A user’s Kin token should, therefore, run on Stellar and Ethereum.
“Kik will be one of the first mainstream projects that uses cryptocurrencies in a meaningful way,” said Jed McCaleb, Stellar co-founder to CoinDesk.” It will bring millions of people to this technology, and we are super excited to be the platform this will be done on.”