The provider of a popular messaging app in Japan, Line Corporation, has announced the launch of a new company that will provide digital currency services
The Tokyo and U.S.-listed firm already offers a money transfer and payment service called Line Pay, but on Wednesday announced it would launch a new division called the Line Financial Corporation to let users exchange digital currencies and use other financial services within the app.
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 added that it intends to “promote research and development of technologies such as blockchain” with the creation of its new financial offering. It claimed that its payments unit had scored “major growth” in 2017, with a global annual transaction volume of more than 450 billion yen ($4.1 billion) and 40 million registered users.
Further, in addition to the high-level of security that Line has cultivated for use in its day-to-day messages, the company aims to actively promote research and development of technologies such as blockchain and provide a financial service that is convenient and safe to users. Line is actively engaging in hiring persons who are experts in these technologies and in finance.
The FSA has registered 16 cryptocurrency exchanges so far, with another 16 awaiting clearance as they continue to operate.
Cryptocurrency trading in Japan has spiked in the last year, with the country’s army of retail investors emerging as a major force in bitcoin’s spectacular rally.
The country’s global share of the bitcoin market has jumped after clampdowns by authorities in China and South Korea, presenting the prospect of lucrative business for cryptocurrency exchanges.
Line said it will start trading cryptocurrencies through “Line Financial”, a new company that will also provide loans and insurance via its Line messaging app. Line currently provides money transfer and payment services to 40 million users through its app.
The app, known for electronic stickers of a brown bear and his rabbit girlfriend, is ubiquitous in Japan. Line also has a strong presence in Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia.
Line went public in the largest tech initial public offering of 2016. After initially struggling to maintain investor enthusiasm, strong sales of advertising space on its messaging app have seen its stock gain almost 60 percent from its IPO price.