Asian message app Line delves deeper into crypto-currencies
The 'Unblock Ventures' fund makes Line one of the first public corporations to formalize token investment through a corporate finance vehicle
Japan’s most popular messaging app, Line, has added a new crypto fund to its expanding list of blockchain services.
Line Corp’s parent company is actually based in South Korea, which is where the new investment fund will be operated from. A statement from the firm announced that the capital pool for the corporate token venture fund will initially be US10 million, and that a company subsidiary, Unblock Corporation, will operate the fund.
The “Unblock Ventures” fund plans to expand as the blockchain and crypto-currency industry grows, says Line. “By launching this new corporate token fund, Line is aiming to boost the development and adoption of crypto-currencies and blockchain technology. As such, Line is one of the first publicly traded corporations to formalize token investments through a corporate fund,” the company says.
According to current data, Line has over 217 million users globally, 75 million of whom are in Japan. In the first quarter of this year the platform generated revenues of 48.7 billion JPY (US$440 million). The chat app is also hugely popular in South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia where users can use it to order food, hail a cab, play games, shop online or make payments.
This is the second time in as many months that Line Corp has dabbled in the crypto-currency industry. In late June the firm announced the launch of its Singapore based crypto exchange Bitbox. Singapore has been seen as a safe haven for crypto businesses as it does not have the heavy regulations and trading requirements that exist in Japan and South Korea.
Line also recently announced that it would be adding Chinese entertainment’s based crypto token Tron to its Bitbox listings. This will include an “airdrop” of 9 million TRX tokens to lure new users to the platform in a promotional event that runs until August 22. The conglomerate also said that it was accepting applications from other crypto coins that want to be listed although these will have to get through Line’s own evaluation process.
Tron has recently acquired Bittorrent and founder, Justin Sun praised the partnership stating; “We are very excited to partner with LINE on their launch into the cryptocurrency space. We will use our expertise in the industry to help LINE provide fast and secure cutting-edge crypto exchange services. By joining this vibrant project, we aim to reach a broader audience, extend our services to mobile, and connect the dots with our other products, which have more than 100 million users …”
Youngsu Ko, CEO of Line’s Singapore-based subsidiary that operates Bitbox, added; “Integrating TRON (TRX) with BITBOX will enable us to connect with the world’s fastest-growing blockchain project.”
Industry observers claim the new Asian partnerships show that, despite a significant downturn in the global crypto market, Asian enthusiasm for the sector remains strong.