Line to launch cryptocurrency exchange

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With regard to the virtual currency related business, the company already started the application process for registration as a virtual currency exchanger, and it's now under review by the Financial Services Agency.

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 now provides money transfer and payment services to 40 million users through its app.

Line announced on January 31 that it has established financial service subsidiary "Line Financial" capitalized at 500 million yen (US$4.57 million or 49.1 billion won) in Japan. Line already has a payments system built into its app called Line Pay with an estimated 40 million users.

The news comes after the incident of the hack of a cryptocurrency in Japan, where the known virtual currency Coincheck lost over $400 million worth of NEM tokens.

LINE Financial is capitalized at US$46.0 million (¥5 billion). The new initiatives which include loans and insurance will be operated by Line Financial, a subsidiary established earlier this month.

Line added that it had already applied for registration as a virtual currency exchanger with the regulator and its application "is now under review".

It has also drawn into focus Japan's approach to regulating cryptocurrency exchanges.

This further underscores how Japan is one of the more welcoming jurisdictions for cryptocurrencies - as opposed to neighbours South Korea and China. The funding of the cryptocurrency will be given by Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

Despite a current downturn in the markets and the mass dissemination of FUD by mainstream media the interest in crypto remains strong.