LINE, a Japanese messaging giant, may soon launch a cryptocurrency exchange for users based in Japan, Bloomberg reports.
As reported by the news outlet citing sources familiar with the matter, LINE is about to win a crypto exchange license from the Japanese Financial Service Agency (FSA), the approval may be issued as early as this month.
Earlier this week, LINE joined a crowded field of tech companies who want to roll out cryptocurrency products, including a move from Facebook Inc. to create its own financial system with Visa Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. The pressure for LINE to succeed as the user growth has decreased since listing in 2016.
With the regulatory clearance, LINE would be able to introduce a platform called BitMax in a few weeks to offer cryptocurrency trading services to its 80 million users in the country.
The Japanese messaging giant launched a cryptocurrency exchange dubbed BitBox based in Singapore in July 2018, which did not support users from Japan. This was due to lack of a regulatory framework in the country.
As of March this year, only nineteen cryptocurrency exchanges had received a license in Japan from the Financial Services Agency (FSA). The agency had tightened up security as a result of the $530 million Coincheck hack in January 2018. Earlier this year, Coincheck obtained a license from the FSA.
According to Bloomberg, LINE now has another pending banking license in Japan which is likely to be issued next year. LINE would be able to create a cryptocurrency payment tunnel for other services such as online shopping under such a banking license.
In March, Rakuten Wallet was granted a license by the FSA. In 2018, Rakuten acquired Everybody’s Bitcoin Inc., a Japanese e-commerce giant.
Do you think LINE’s move to launch a cryptocurrency exchange signals the presence of a clear regulatory framework in Japan?
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