With over 600 million registered users and 200 million monthly active users worldwide, Japanese messaging giant Line has announced plans to start and operate a cryptocurrency exchange.
In an announcement today, the Tokyo-based chat app confirmed that it has filed an application with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) – Japan’s financial regulator – to register and launch a cryptocurrency exchange. The application is currently under review.
It’s a significant move, one which sees Japan’s biggest messaging service announcing its foray into cryptocurrency trading, to be enabled within its chat application that is ubiquitous among some 70 million Japanese users. The messaging app is also massively popular in other regional nations including Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan.
Line’s plan to launch the offering extends beyond Japan, with Bloomberg reporting its planned expansion to Hong Kong and cryptocurrency-friendly Luxembourg. If Line intends to bring its cryptocurrency exchange for all of its users globally, the likes of Coinbase, one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency exchanges with some 13 million users across 32 countries, would pale in comparison.
Line joins a group of over 30 cryptocurrency exchange operators in Japan filing applications with the FSA to register and launch operations. The FSA has so far recognized and granted permits to 16 exchanges, with the rest awaiting clearance.
The messaging giant’s initiative to offer cryptocurrency trading comes alongside the launch of a new company called Line Financial, which will also delve into offering financial services to users.
An excerpt from Line’s announcement reads:
“Going forward, LINE will use this new company as a base as it proceeds with preparations to provide a variety of financial services, including a place to exchange and transact virtual currencies, loans, and insurance – all from the LINE app – and will continue to grow its financial business. “
Line Financial follows Line’s already-popular mobile money transfer and payment service Line Pay, a service enabled within Line’s messaging app. In 2017, Line pay topped 40 million registered users globally with annual transaction volume exceeding ¥450 billion ($4.1 billion).