Article by Forbes: Darryn Pollock
Enterprise blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption has been peeking in 2019 with news constantly filtering through of major Western powers such as IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and other tech companies exploring space.
Advancements such as Facebook looking to create its own cryptocurrency, and JPMorgan and Wells Fargo also piloting their cross-border payments, have been heralded as revolutionary. However, there are other companies out of the western media that are doing far more to position themselves as leaders in the ever-growing space of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
One company that has been pushing the limits in recent times is Japan’s leading messaging app LINE. Not only was it one of the first publicly traded companies to launch a proprietary blockchain mainnet with its own cryptocurrency, it recently opened the doors on its exchange BITMAX.
The latter move by LINE was especially important as the app, which boasts 81 million users, has achieved the full backing of the Japanese Financial Services Agency, the watchdog that has cracked down on exchanges in the country following the hacks of Mt. Gox and Coincheck.
LINE have moved fast with their own blockchain, token, and now exchange, but this is all part of their ongoing plans to be well placed for the next technological fintech wave that will include both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Brian Lee – Manager of Global Corporate Affairs, LVC Corporation – has said that both blockchain and cryptocurrency require substantial time and financial investment if the messaging app is to be well positioned in the coming decade or so.
“Regarding fintech, including cryptocurrency, we recognize that a substantial investment over several years is necessary,” Lee told The Daily Chain. “We need to be fast in order to be a leader within this field, with early investment the key to innovation and success. Once we are established, we anticipate that fintech services like cryptocurrency will provide stable revenues for a long time to come.”
“Regarding blockchain specifically, we regard blockchain as a disruptive technology that enables users and services to exchange value and enhance transparency between one another, with cryptocurrency a kind of ‘investing’ business for the future that utilizes blockchain-based systems.”
“Applying this kind of new technology into the fintech area, we can actualize innovation in various ways. For example, using blockchain technology, we can analyze user behavior patterns. We can use data to enhance our credit service by further developing our LINE Score offering. We can also apply this blockchain framework to provide incentive to users who contribute to the development of services.”
I followed up with Lee to understand LINE’s move within the nascent space and to understand how they see the integration of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
“It will take several years for banks, securities, and other conventional financial services to work together with blockchain, which is why right now we are focusing on the blockchain business and other financial services. When the technology advances further we imagine the possibility of a crossover between conventional financial services and blockchain technology,” Lee told me.
Being regulatory sure
One big important aspect of the launch from LINE has been their intention to be fully regulated, especially in light of Japan’s intense pressure on exchanges. Of course, being a well established enterprise there was never any doubt as to the company seeking full regulatory clarity, and this was expressed in the quick turn around from the approval to the launch.
“We maintain regular communication with the FSA in order to ensure that we comply with all the necessary rules and regulations,” Lee added. “As an operator in the online space, LINE places the utmost importance in reaching the highest standards to ensure that user trust, privacy, and security is protected.”
“With specific reference to cryptocurrency, we collaborate with BitGo Inc., which provides the highest international standard of wallet services, to deliver the most robust and secure service to our users. We also leverage a wealth of internal expertise, particularly in the field of encryption, in order to ensure secure provision of our wallet service.”
On the course for more
With Lee explaining that LINE is committed to working in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space for the foreseeable future, it is interesting to plot its journey, and to speculate where it is going next.
With a mainnet blockchain, cryptocurrency and exchange, the foundations are laid for LINE to be a true driving enterprise force in the ecosystem, but they are not quite ready to explain what is next in the pipeline.
“With the launch of BITMAX, our current aim is to provide a secure service to users. We forecast that cryptocurrency will form a linchpin of future infrastructure, and intend to continue developing our crypto-related services placing the utmost importance on security. Any announcements regarding LINK coin, or other crypto services and products, will be made at the appropriate time,” Lee concluded.