In Thailand, Line is one of the most popular ways of communicating. Photo: iStock
In Thailand, Line is one of the most popular ways of communicating. Photo: iStock

A new partnership was announced this week between popular Asian messaging app Line and Icon, South Korea’s version of the open-source blockchain platform Ethereum.

The collaboration could lead to hundreds of millions using the blockchain platform, which would push it ahead of any existing Asian competition.

Icon is a decentralized application (dApp) platform, very similar to not just Ethereum but also to China’s NEO and Japan’s Cardano. It enables users to develop and deploy dApps across its blockchain platform and boasts a number of performance enhancing features it says are better than Ethereum, that now stands as the industry standard.

As yet, however, there has been no mass deployment and adoption of the type of technology which largely remains at the prototype stage. Icon, with its joint venture with Line, is setting out to change that.

The messaging app is operated by Line Corporation, a Japanese subsidiary of the South Korean internet search giant Naver Corp, and has something like 215 million users globally. It has become very popular in Asia, especially in Thailand, where it is now the number one messaging service.

The joint venture, announced on Icon’s medium page, highlighted the development of a co-founded platform dubbed Unchain which “aims to develop various dApp services while building synergies with Icon to expand the blockchain ecosystem.” Unchain will create an ecosystem where users are rewarded in tokens for their contributions to the network.

“This joint venture takes blockchain and decentralization another step closer to being a part of our everyday lives,” said Icon. “This joint venture with Line is expected to connect significantly more users and dApps to the Icon network, bringing us that much closer to a ‘Hyperconnected World’.”

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has expressed concerns about high market value blockchain projects which have little or no active adoption or usage in the real world. Late last year during the big crypto boom he tweeted, asking the question about how the crypto community had earned the $500 billion market capitalization for crypto-currencies when there is so little real world usage yet.

Significant mutually beneficial partnerships such as Icon and Line have the ultimate aim of connecting more people to decentralized applications based on blockchain technology. Whether this can boost the value of Icon’s own crypto-currency, ICX, remains to be seen.

At the moment it has been down-trending on the markets for the past week. What it more likely will do, however, is bring blockchain into the palms of millions of people using their everyday apps.

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