Japan’s largest messaging app Line is reportedly close to receiving a license from Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA), to launch a cryptocurrency exchange in the country.
According to a report from Bloomberg, which cites people familiar with the matter, the regulator could issue the license this month. If that were to happen, the exchange would commence operations a few weeks after, the people said.
The new exchange will be called BitMax and will be available for the users of Line, which totals 80 million in Japan, to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. This will include major cryptos such as Bitcoin, as well as the company’s own token Link, according to the sources.
BitMax is not the first exchange for Line. In fact, it also has one in Singapore – BitBox, which Line launched last year for global users. According to one of the people who spoke to Bloomberg, BitMax will use the same back-end technology as BitBox.
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Due to licensing issues, BitBox is not available to users in Japan, and therefore, hasn’t contributed majorly to the company’s earnings. According to the Japan-based firm’s website, exchange volume over the past 24 hours was around $2 million. BitMax, on the other hand, could be a big boost for the company.
On its website, Line published the following response to media reports that it will soon be launching a crypto exchange: “Some media have reported that LINE Corporation (“LINE”) will launch a crypto currency business in Japan. However, this is not an official announcement from LINE, and no such decision has been made.”
Line to Head Further into Financial Services Sector
In addition to its exchange license, Line is also still waiting on approval for a separate banking license in Japan. This will allow the company to integrate digital assets with its other services, such as online shopping, more deeply.
But cryptocurrencies aren’t all that’s on the company’s radar. Line is also planning on heading further into the financial industry. Earlier this month, co-Chief Executive Officer Shin Jung-ho said that the firm will be launching stock brokerage operations later this year with Nomura Holdings Inc., one of the largest broker in Japan, as well as banking services next year with Mizuho Financial Group Inc.