The Line messaging app, popular in Japan and Thailand, has more than 200 million users. Photo: Line Corp
The Line messaging app, popular in Japan and Thailand, has more than 200 million users. Photo: Line Corp

Even with markets now in the doldrums, crypto-currencies still show signs of growth. Japan’s most popular messaging platform, Line, that has previously shown a sharp interest in crypto, now plans to open its own digital currency exchange in July.

According to a company press release, Line Corporation and its blockchain business division LVC Corp announced the plan to launch Bitbox, a global crypto-currency exchange. There is one caveat, however. Trading will not be available in Japan or the US and the exchange will be based in Singapore.

This is likely due to the ever increasing regulatory pressures in the two countries and the failure of the firm to obtain the correct licensing in its home country.

The announcement, that says the exchange will support 30 or more crypto-currencies and 15 languages – except Japanese – will operate as a crypto-to-crypto exchange and will not be allowing the exchange of conventional, government-backed fiat currencies. The company went on to state that security is its top priority.

“With the need to trade crypto-currencies rising around the world, LINE has been preparing to provide opportunities for users to do so securely, and as the secure system is in place now, the company will be offering the service.”

As an incentive to entice new and existing crypto traders into an increasingly crowded exchange industry, Bitbox will offer a zero trading commission campaign for a month from the launch date.

Line, which is headquartered in Japan, also has a huge following in Thailand, where it is the top instant messaging app. It does seem bizarre then, that in addition to Japanese, the Thai language will also not be supported on the new exchange. In total Line has more than 200 million users and employs almost 1,700 people, according to statistics.

Last month Line announced a strategic partnership with Korean blockchain platform Icon, whose parent company, South Korean Naver, is involved in a wide range of digital communications technologies. Icon and its ICX crypto-currency has often been dubbed the ‘Korean Ethereum’ as it strives to standardize connectivity between different blockchain projects.

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